Mark these words

I often quote Mark Twain in my classes, but before I do, I tell the students I must speak very slowly and very deliberately when I say, “Mark Twain quote.” If I don’t, if I rattle it off without concentrating on every word, it always comes out, “Mark Qwain Twote.”
Every. Single. Time.
And when I do that, it ruins the whole effect.
Fortunately that does not happen when I’m writing a Mark Twain quote.
Here’s one that made me a better person.
“It takes your enemy and your friend working together to hurt you. Your enemy to slander you, and your friend to tell you about it.”
I read that more than 20 years ago and it was like a slap in the face. I wondered how many times I had dashed up to a friend and reported, “You should hear what so-an-so said about you.”
And when I did, who did the hurting?
Not so-and-so.
Never again did I engage in such an act. Even if I believed that my friend needed to know what was said about him, I held back. He’ll hear soon enough, I’d think. But not from me. Let someone else hurt him.
I came upon another Mark Twain quote just recently, and today, New Year’s Eve Eve, is a good time to share it.
“The two most important days of your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”
I believe the “why” for me is to serve others. It’s a message that did not come in one dramatic lightning strike event, but rather has been revealed over and over.
So, as the year 2020 winds down, my wish for you in the New Year is to be lucky enough to find out why you were born.
And to never participate in hurting a friend.

Ed Ackerman