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of RED RIVER VALLEY
|Dec 2006 Character Quality -- Sensitivity
|the following editorial article was written by Gloria Cooper for publication in The Paris News --
“Hurricane Katrina is now spiraling towards the city of New Orleans, Louisiana with extremely
dangerous speed.” The news reporter informed gravely. “By morning, it is possible that its
devastating effects may touch the lives of thousands all across Mississippi and Louisiana.” As the
first reports came in from Biloxi, Mississippi and New Orleans, countless numbers of individuals,
churches, and communities began preparations to provide for the thousands of refugees. The
hurricane left many people homeless, alone, and in many cases, poverty-stricken. In response,
many organizations reached out to help. From government agencies in Houston to a single
businessman in far-off Kansas, the disaster brought out the amazing hospitality of American
citizens. As refugees began streaming into relief centers, staff members rushed to comfort the
frightened, feed the hungry, and settle the anxious. Others took down names of the missing and
began a search to find their loved ones. Still others invested thousands of dollars to provide
supplies that were more adequate for the rising needs. All across America, relief efforts poured in
to rebuild the lives of our fellow citizens – at times denying themselves so they could give to those
This is the spirit of America – the spirit of hospitality. This is what made, and what continues to
make America the greatest nation in the world. Hospitality is cheerfully sharing food, shelter, and
encouraging refreshment to benefit the needs of others.
When a person meets someone for the first time, he lays the foundation for a wall or a bridge. A
hospitable person knows how to treat individuals according to their personal needs without
thinking about it. If we want to show care for others, we would do well to check out these few
suggestions. When others meet us, they should know that we are happy to see them. If someone
plans an event, the best preparation they can make is verifying that they have prepared for
individuals – not a group. Hospitality does not come without a price. Whether it takes time,
money, or energy, the value of the deed depends on the sincerity of the investment. “Hospitality
is making your guests feel at home, even when you wish they were.” We cannot expect to build
friendships without expecting responsibilities. The first responsibility in any relationship is giving
respect, honor, and care to the other person in the same manner that we would like to receive it.
We also need to make sure that we extend our hospitality in the right areas at the right time.
Hospitable people who do not focus on the correct opportunity tend to become ineffective in many
ways. This causes irresponsibility in other areas, which they tend to neglect by default.
Furthermore, discernment must come into play here. A wise hospitable host will be able to
differentiate between those who need care and those who want hand-outs. They will also be able
to tell who is looking for a relationship for personal gain or for the good of others.
Hospitality builds bridges across hostile lines. It takes our eyes off ourselves and directs them to
other peoples needs. Every person influences others for evil or for good. As we give of
ourselves to show genuine care for others, we influence them to do the same without personal
gain in return. Dolly Madison, White House hostess for several years, said this about her role:
“…I do not care what offices they hold, or who supports them. I care only about people.” We
would do well to follow her example.
Portions of this article have been adapted from Character First! material. For more information about the
Character First! program and resources contact: Character Training Institute, 520 W. Main Street, Oklahoma
City, OK 73102, (405) 815-0001. Visit the Character Council of Red River Valley at www.character-paris.org.