I was given as a gift a book with the unusual name of How Many People does it Take to Make a Difference? written by Dan Zadra and Kobi Yamada. I was inspired by the thoughts in this brief book as Violin well as the message it contained.

In a passage entitled "You are Royalty" the authors point out that if you can drink from your kitchen faucet whenever you want, you are better off then 1.5 billion people who have no access to clean water. If you can read this message, you are better off then 2 billion people who cannot read. It then concludes "Remember: From those to whom much is given, much is expected."

There is a wonderful quote from Shel Silvestein:

"Listen to the mustn’ts , child, listen to the don’ts – listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts – listen to the never haves, then listen close to me. Anything can happen child. Anything can be."

Another passage asks the question: "What can one do?" and the answer was framed this way: What can you do? Do what you can."

Another passage is entitled "What people need is a good listening to." It describes the ways to listen with "compassion, understanding and intention" as:

"Be present and give the speaker your full attention. Show interest, be generous, encourage the speaker. Listen with your heart as well as your ears. Make it safe for the speaker to share his or her thoughts and feelings. Listen to every word without interrupting or wishing to speak yourself. When the speaker has finished, acknowledge what you heard without judging or correcting"

The book describes an event I had read about, they call "the man in the metro." It describes a video taped test where a man in jeans, white tee shirt and baseball cap played his violin next to the trash can at a metro station in Washington D.C. He played for forty five minutes while thousands of people rushed around getting to their trains. A few tossed money in his open violin case, but most rushed by only momentarily paying attention. People on cell phones talked louder over the music and parents pulled curious children away. When he was done, no one applauded or noticed. It turned out that the man was Joshua Bell, an internationally known violinist who was playing on a Stradivarius worth three and a half million dollars. Just two days before he had sold out a theater in Boston where the tickets averaged $100. The book asks that if we don’t have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing some of the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?

This short book is available from the publisher Compendium Inc. 600 North 36th Street Suite 400, Seattle, Washington 98103. I recommend you find a copy. 

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