Winston Churchill (1874-1965) was best known for his refusal to surrender to Hitler during WWII. He was even more stubborn than Hitler and he refused to consider defeat, surrender or compromise. He inspired the British resistance to oppose Hitler. He used speeches and radio broadcasts to keep the British people energized and ready to fight. He is regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the 20th century. When he died Elizabeth II gave him the honor of a state funeral. It was the largest assembly of world statesmen in history. Churchill was named the greatest Briton of all time in a 2002 poll. He is also known as the most influential person in British History.
I received the following story by e-mail. www.winstonchurchill.org denounces the story as a myth. While it may not be true of Churchill and Fleming, it is a great story that highlights the importance of kindness and education. I’m sure there are many examples of this kind of “connection” between the present and the future. I’ve had a few of those myself. I was kind to a waitress when she was just getting started. I didn’t know she was working her way through medical school. Almost 12 years later I was surprised to see her again as my physicians assistant. I hope you enjoy the following “fictional” story.
His name was Fleming, and he was a poor Scottish farmer. One day, while trying to make a living for his family, he heard a cry for help coming from a nearby bog. He dropped his tools and ran to the bog.
There, mired to his waist in black muck, was a terrified boy, screaming and struggling to free himself. Farmer Fleming saved the lad from what could have been a slow and terrifying death
The next day, a fancy carriage pulled up to the Scotsman’s sparse surroundings. An elegantly dressed nobleman stepped out and introduced himself as the father of the boy Farmer Fleming had saved.
‘I want to repay you,’ said the nobleman. ‘You saved my son’s life.’
‘No, I can’t accept payment for what I did,’ the Scottish farmer replied waving off the offer. At that moment, the farmer’s own son came to the door of the family hovel.
‘Is that your son?’ the nobleman asked.
‘Yes,’ the farmer replied proudly.
‘I’ll make you a deal. Let me provide him with the level of education my own son will enjoy. If the lad is anything like his father, he’ll no doubt grow to be a man we both will be proud of.’
The farmer agreed and his son did indeed grow up to be a noble man.
Farmer Fleming’s son attended the very best schools and in time, graduated from St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School in London, and went on to become known throughout the world as the noted Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of Penicillin.
Years afterward, the same nobleman’s son who was saved from the bog was stricken with pneumonia.
What saved his life this time? Penicillin.
The name of the nobleman? Lord Randolph Churchill .. His son’s name?
Sir Winston Churchill.
I love this story because it highlights the fact that every gesture in our life matters. You never know how the people you meet today will influence your future. The waitress who made a mistake, the school teacher that had mercy, the co-worker that needed help and the wallflower that sits quietly at your next party. All of them will influence the future. How will your actions to them today help them be their best? How will you change the future by the lives you influence today.
Don’t forget to be good to your husband, your children, your friends and your extended family members. They may be the ones taking care of you when you are ill. You may need their love, understanding and help. Don’t ruin those relationships by losing your temper or being selfish. Fill your future with love by being careful with today’s choices.