Are You Sensitive?
August 19, 1991
My topic tonight is about that all to rare human quality of sensitivity.
Not the type of sensitivity that is found in psychics or demonstrated through esp, but the sensitivity which is sometimes shown to other peoples problems and situations.
Now this is a topic that cannot be analyzed or defined scientifically. It’s a human quality that comes from the heart in the face of another persons need.
So tonight, I would like to share with you three true stories which demonstrate this sensitivity or the lack of it.
As I was writing this speech last week, I was under a great deal of pressure. The words just wouldn’t flow and each phrase was a struggle to get out of my brain.
You see I was waiting for a phone call.
Just one call…one that never came.
My wife recently had the opportunity of a lifetime. She could get an $8000 ibm computer, with 2 disk drives, and a letter quality printer – for only $500. This was part of a program at work to get the executives to learn about computers on their own time.
Well for me, this was the chance I’d been waiting for. I could envision myself sitting in front of the console typing out my speeches for Toastmasters, setting up my mailing lists for cub scouts, using it for a small business that I run out of my house and even putting out a personalized newsletter that I wanted to try.
And it all came down to one phone call.
My wife’s boss had met with the president of the company, who was to make the final decision. My wife had left numerous phone messages and memos indicating that we would appreciate a phone call after the meeting. When he didn’t call, we tried in vain again to reach him several times. We talked to his secretary indicating how much we wanted to find out about the computer, again no word.
And so for 48 hours we were on pins and needles, waiting for a phone call that never came.
Not because the boss was too busy, not because his phone didn’t work. Not because he was suddenly taken ill, but only because he was insensitive to our needs and our situation.
One of the things that concerns me about the male species, is the feeling that if we don’t live up to that John Wayne, macho man image, then there’s something wrong with us….well I say baloney.
I recently had the opportunity to play Santa Claus in June
A friend was having a surprise birthday party for his mother who was 60 years old…the first party that she had ever received in her honor.
He was looking for something to spice up the party and make it a little more festive..so I volunteered to be Santa and hand out the gifts. I already had a costume, and he only lived a mile or so away, so it took little effort on my part.
What did concern me was that while his mother opened her birthday gifts, all the men stayed out on the porch drinking beer and eating snacks. They could care less. The one party this woman gets in her lifetime, and they’re outside stuffing their faces. They don’t even have the plain ordinary courtesy to watch her open her gifts.
I’m a letter carrier in Webster Groves. One day as I was delivering a Registered letter, a young boy Chris, came to the door. Chris has downs syndrome. So I asked Chris if his mother or father was home, and he said no they weren’t. So I sort of fumbled around, not really knowing what Chris’s capabilities were, when all of a sudden a younger sister appeared, pushed Chris out of the way, grabbed the letter and signed it herself.
Well Chris of course was heart broken. He was very upset.
Here was an opportunity for him to prove himself in the adult world, and he was pushed aside, not because he couldn’t perform the task, writing his name, but because his sister was insensitive to his needs and I was too slow to grasp the situation.
Well, as I left that house I felt very bad for Chris.
I knew what he must be feeling, so I decided to do something about it.
The next day, I brought another piece of mail to the house.
It was registered, certified and numbered insured. All by me!!
This time, I made sure Chris and only Chris got to sign for it.
It was a small thing on my part, but I’m sure it made Chris happy.
The rest of the day. I know it made me feel great!
Some days you are going to miss that chance to be sensitive to aAnother’s needs….but if you can rectify it later do something about it. If you can’t,learn from it maybe the next time you will remember and be more sensitive.
Sensitivity is a quality that can be learned…just like any other trait…but it takes time , practice and commitment.
You see, it’s inside each of us all we have to do is nurture it
Care for it and when it does show up it will reward you a hundred times over.