Six Sigma and more:
David Schwinn’s thoughts on Ted Kennedy’s death
Edward M. “Ted” Kennedy passed away on August 25, 2009. He was the little brother of John and Bobby Kennedy, two leaders of our country during the years when I was trying to understand how and why the world seems so hell-bent on self-destruction. The era was referred to in terms of Camelot, and many of us thought the two of them could lead us to a better time. They were assassinated as was Dr. Martin Luther King. We were crushed. Life went on, but their spirit still lives in those of us who adored them.
Those memories arose in me as I watched the coverage of Ted Kennedy’s life and death on television. I was struck by how profoundly he had carried on the work. Kennedy was the third-longest-serving senator in U.S. history. He and his staff wrote more than 300 bills that were enacted into law. Some other things struck me. One of his sons said that Kennedy admired perseverance. I was reminded of the closing to his remarks at the 1980 Democratic convention:
“For those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dream shall never die.”
Kennedy’s son, Patrick, also reminded of us Ted’s perseverance and dedication with the closing to Robert Frost’s poem, “Stopping by Woods on Snowy Evening:”
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
President Obama reminded us of Kennedy’s commitment to giving a voice to those not heard and to those whom Jesus called “the least of my brethren.”
After all was said and done, what most profoundly stayed with me was that everything we do (and think and say) makes a difference and creates the future. That is all that I want to leave with you today. Ted Kennedy was busy and powerful. He did many significant things. Some we may agree with and some we may disagree with, but he made a difference and helped create the future. We all do.
As I write this, I am reminded of a perspective of Robert Muller, past Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations. He said that more important than all the work he did at the UN was the opportunity to make a difference in one person’s life. We all have that opportunity.
So here is what I propose we do in our Six Sigma effort and, in fact, in all our waking moments. May we remember to be aware that what we think, we are inclined to say and to act on. And may we remember that whatever we say or do, even if it is nothing, makes a difference and helps create the future. That’s a big responsibility. May we take it seriously.
As always, I treasure your thoughts and questions. I’m at email@example.com.
Copyright 2009 PQ Systems.
Please direct questions or problems regarding this web site to the Webmaster.