Not like the wellness lords of recent fame,
With carrots and sticks astride from hand to hand;
Here at our branded, workplace gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the lonely heart, and her name
Mother of Unengaged. From her beacon-hand
Glows community-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The productive nest of that competitive game.
“Keep, ancient nostrums, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your sedentary,
Your stressed out masses yearning for weight loss glee,
The wretched refuse of your wellness poor.
Send these, the hopeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside their golden door.”
The Statue of Liberty and the real New Colossus sonnet are fascinating stories. I encourage you to get on Wikipedia and check it out. The real sonnet, which appears on a plaque on the inner wall of the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal, was written by Emma Lazarus and mounted there in 1903. The Statue of Liberty was a gift from France, and was erected in 1886 in New York Harbor. The Statue of Liberty was originally intended as a symbol of our form of Government (a Republic), and a celebration of the strength of our nation.
But, as it turns out, Lazarus’s poem changed Lady Liberty’s purpose to become a beacon for the disadvantaged and the downtrodden. To the amazement of much of the planet, our melting pot of worldwide rejects does pretty well in a culture of freedom. Lazarus must have been the kind of person that recognized unlimited potential in people. That kind of perspective changes the equation, and is the first step in building a culture where people can perform well. It’s a good lesson and a reminder for Thanksgiving, don’t you think?
Shawn is the President and Founder of Hope Health. For over 30 years, his work has focused on bringing clear, easy-to-read and watch health messages to the public via workplaces. He bills himself as the “Best C+ Student in the Wellness Biz” because, as he says, “I like to challenge the notion that there is no such thing as a stupid question.” Shawn is on a mission to tie workplaces into their surrounding communities to share resources and ideas in an effort to improve the health of all Americans.
You may reach Shawn at sconnors@HopeHealth.com or 800-334-4094.