by Diego Nascimento

In my lectures and classes in college I have shared that life, in fact, is a book filled with chapters. Some striking, others less so. The desire to soar to greater heights in our professional careers is commonplace, but few people understand that success is not necessarily linked to the “stuffed” bank account statement. Good success is also measured by the way you act, speak and devote your time to tasks, projects and your community.

The story I am going to tell you is true, and my family was and remains an eyewitness to an incredible example of balance, sacrifice and sensitivity. I’ve always like the opportunity to tell this story to reinforce the idea that “donating your time to others” can revolutionize lives.

Once there was a boy between the ages of 5 and 7 who lived in an orphanage. Frightened by so many people around him, that boy (who did not know his family roots or parents) was transferred to another children’s home where he was educated by a team of missionaries committed to planting hope. Years passed and the boy was adopted by a family living outside of Brazil in North America. There he continued to receive the principles of truth, graduated from high school and started working. It wasn’t enough for him to be on this new path; this young man knew that he could go farther.  Reevaluating his personal goals, he boarded a plane and spent some of his precious youth as a volunteer at the small Brazilian orphanage that cared for him for years. It was after this interval, newly married, that the young man made a big decision: “I was adopted. Maybe I should do the same?” After a major bureaucratic battle, the foreign country that embraced him now received another child, and the story was repeated. Decades passed, and the little boy at the beginning of this story is now a grown man, father of five, grandfather of three, exemplary spouse, faithful friend and a professional whose career is worthy of a book, literally. But this saga does not end there: even living abroad, the entire family continues to donate their time for the sake of other children living at the same orphanage that for over 50 years has revolutionized generations.

Now bear with me: besides work, work and work what do you dedicate to others? You may not have the purpose or even the chance to participate in an adoption in the traditional sense, but in your spare time you can “adopt” someone by spending time with them who needs a few minutes of conversation and human warmth. There are many ways to add to your “life resume” through simple steps, and you are able to make a huge, huge difference.

Sometimes you can reach the end of your story without seeing results from your efforts. Do not worry about it. The biggest fruits do not always need advertising. What’s more, if today I have English as a Second Language (ESL) – Inglês como Segundo Idioma – and I have translated texts and conversations, speeches, etc., it just shows that the seed was planted before I was born. That’s right:  the journey of this kid, as you just read, continues to also influence my present and my future; and he knows it!

Before you go to bed today, may I suggest:  Do something for someone!

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