During the late 1700’s, the American states were having difficulty establishing critical elements of the U.S. Constitution. Many states were in disagreement regarding their representation in the legislature. Smaller states like Deleware and New Jersey were concerned that they would not get adequate representation and their opinions would be drowned out by the larger states like Virginia. However, in 1787, two Connecticut delegates named Roger Sherman and Oliver Ellsworth brought forth a plan that was a blend of both New Jersey and Virginia’s proposal. Hence, a compromise. This plan ultimately effected the proportion of senators a state would be represented by.
As you might have already discovered, the key word to this thought is simply, “compromise“. Too many times in my life I have heard the words, “never compromise” and frankly, I believe it is those words that have led our world to the sorry shape that it’s in. I mean, here was an body of elected government officials in a stalemate regarding The Constitution, one of the most important documents of American history, all because they were unable to appreciate the other’s beliefs and unwilling to compromise on their convictions. If it wasn’t for these two men then where would we be as a country? Would we remain united?
What about the Compromise of 1850, which defused the tensions and delayed the Civil War for approximately ten years? I propose that some of the most historical and courageous moments in history have been built on one thing, compromise. There are too many of us, myself included, that fail to reach a compromise. This majority, like me, are consumed with their own wants, desires, beliefs, and are unwilling to take into account of the views of others. We simply need more compromise.
The Occupy and Tea Party movements get in an uproar when their elected officials refuse to compromise and yell all the more when they do (which is quite seldom). Seriously, I do plenty of things that I particularly don’t enjoy doing. However, I do it because it’s right (most often when the timing fits into my schedule).
I feel that my parents taught me the importance of compromise, especially when it comes to personal relationships. While my family isn’t perfect and we have more than our fair share of disagreements, there is an overwhelming belief that love exists. I’ve seen my parents compromise their wants and desires for each other, their children, neighbors, church and community members, and even complete strangers. And as a young kid, that made an impression on me. They instilled in me the blessings of servant-hood.
I have many memories of my time in Indianapolis when I attended a small christian college. A time that was primarily spent with friends partaking in ridiculous activities, many of which ended up in disaster. However, I often am reminded of the times when I was alone with strangers. One summer I worked as a bellman at the Hyatt Regency and everyday I would go out on my lunch break and split a Subway foot-long with the first homeless guy I could find. Some times I would sit and eat with him, but primarily they just ran off with the rest of the sandwich. Maybe they thought I was some serial killer who preyed on the homeless, I dunno. I remember when my parents were in Chillicothe, Missouri I talked them into driving a strange, stranded deaf man to his home about thirty minutes away, in the blinding snow.
Am I here to toot my own horn? No. I’m simply reminding myself that it was these moments when I was the happiest. I compromised my own wants (and sometimes the wants of others) to satisfy the needs of those around me. Often when I am molded in life’s funk I realize that I have been too consumed with my own wants. Hill Harper recently published a book entitled. “The Wealth Cure: Putting Money in it’s Place”. In this book he states (with published evidence to back it up), that those individuals who volunteer at an increased rate spend less and are happier than their non-volunteering counterparts. Upon reading this, I agree.
“So Kris, what point are you trying to make?” Simple. Compromise. I need to compromise. I need to compromise in my relationships with my family, friends and those that I love, with my coworkers, strangers, and most importantly, with those less privileged. I may not want to do something, but if someone else wants to do it, then I want to bring a little bit of happiness to their lives. Like Will Ferrell says, “smiling is my favorite”. And the thing about genuine smiles is that they are contagious. Ever heard a laugh that is described an “infectious”? That’s what the majority of smiles and laughter are to me, infectious (except for Janice Litman Goralnick). I challenge each of us, myself especially, to choose one thing/one person to give to. A compromise of your desires in order to bring happiness to each other. If it doesn’t make you happy in return then contact me and I will repay you in full for your payment. That’s a guarantee. (By the way, that’s a hyperlink, click it for a surprise!)