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A hope note

So, what’s new? Another football coach, one day repeating promises of everlasting love and denying even having a wandering eye, the next day leaves his team for what he hopes will be a better deal.
As he explained in a letter to his former, angry players: ‘This decision was not easy but was made in the best interest of me and my family.’
Who can fault that reasoning? We all act in the best interest of ourselves or our family every day. What’s wrong with wanting to improve our station in life, to provide better for our hungry young ‘uns, to aim higher?
Successful coaches and politicians running for high office help set this question: Are there any values in life that should ever trump self-interest? Should we ignore or discount or trash any principle that would get in the way of gratifying self and getting ahead?
What about integrity or truth-telling or trustworthiness? There’s an old saying, ‘A man’s word is his bond.’ I think of historical examples like Sir Thomas More, trusted advisor to Henry VIII, who refused to countenance the king’s divorces and paid for his principles with his life. More’s final words on the scaffold before he lost his head were: ‘The King’s good servant, but God’s First.’
Soldiers who sacrifice life or limb for country, martyrs like Thomas More, common Jacks and Jills who drop their last dollar in a Salvation Army kettle ‘ are they fools for marching to a different drummer than self, for being true to principles they believe are greater than greed and self-preservation and self-advancement?
Rabbi Hillel set the question well: ‘If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am for myself alone, what am I?’

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