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The shortfalls of a self-made man

Published:Wednesday | March 3, 2010 | 12:00 AM
The staff of Mother's recently presented a cash donation of more than $200,000 and clothing to the Haiti earthquake relief efforts. Here, Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management Deputy Director General Richard Thompson receives the donation from Mother's employee Jeanette Lewis. Other staffers are (from left) Ramone Clarke, Tanya Green, Oraine Lewis and Taneisha Brown. - Contributed

Hi neighbour! Have you ever met a 'self-made man'? Think I've met a few in my lifetime. I find them to be very ambitious, focused, hard-working and extremely frugal.

You may find these persons climbing the highest mountain if it will bring them fulfilment. They take credit for all their accomplishments. Their advisers are themselves - usually there is a seed of deception in the advice of others. Normally, they are well-intentioned and mean no harm.

The self-made are very charitable and will even build institutions for the benefit of the less fortunate. The only catch is that beneficiaries pay them allegiance. The problem here is that this can make life quite complicated.

In most instances, the self-made have success stories that speak to their resilience: they never had much schooling. Life management skills had no parental input. They basically learned the ropes by trial and error. Who doesn't?

At an early age, they decided that they would never fail and did everything to ensure this. Commendable! They would never take kindly to anyone who tried to stand in the way of their mission to succeed. We could write many best-sellers about these characters ... .

However, they fall short of an important quality: the humility to realise that he did not make himself. His achievements did not and could not come about just by his personal efforts. They resulted from the sweat of others.

While we admire persons in our society who have worked hard and achieved much, they must be cautioned. Their world can crumble at any time and it takes nothing short of brotherly love to help rebuild.

Heard about a very ambitious, successful young woman who worked at building her life. She would have been buried today, had it not been for neighbours. No one knew that this very quiet, unassuming individual who lived alone was not managing life well. Early one afternoon, a neighbour suspected that something was not right at her apartment and went to investigate.

Sure enough, all was not well, and she was on the verge of committing suicide. The quick response of unselfish neighbours saved her life. Despite their outward appearance, we may never know what our neighbours face from day to day; let's keep an eye on them.

Remember, whenever we try to 'make ourselves', we become selfish but whenever we try to 'make ourselves good neighbours', we become unselfish. Be a good neighbour today and make something good happen for someone else. There are great opportunities from the list below.

Silton Townsend, author of Hello Mi Neighbour', is best known for his portrayal of 'Maas Gussie' in the once-aired local sitcom 'Lime Tree Lane'.


1. Ms Burrell, Kingston, for donating a brand new mattress to Ms Salmon, Kingston.

2. Joan, St Andrew, for donation of clothing for her neighbour.

3. Ms Bennett, St Catherine, for donating clothing to Marva, St Catherine.

4. Mrs Brown, for donating two sewing machines to a neighbour who is willing to have minor repairs done to them.

5. Mrs Rancharam, for boxes of goodies earmarked for neighbours.

6. Sophia, Kingston, for trying to assist practical nurse AnnMarie with a job.

7. Mirriam, St Catherine, for donation of clothing and cash.

8. Viola, Manchester, for offering fabric for a needy person who is trying to earn a living from dressmaking.

9. Fay, St Andrew, for her willingness to assist Lorraine with shoes for her children.

10. Mr Anderson, St Andrew, for assisting Simone, who is badly in need of a job.


1. Fearon, a middle-age man from St Mary who was born without legs; only drags himself around. He's asking for a motorised wheelchair to get around.

2. Gretel, Manchester, is an unemployed cancer patient asking for help with the purchase of medication.

3. Single mother whose son, suffering from heart and kidney problems, has already undergone three operations; needs food and clothing.

4. Single mother of five - all girls - of Clarendon, wants to go into poultry rearing to help make ends meet but doesn't have the capital to begin.

5. Sabetha, Clarendon, asking for a mattress for her four children - boys: 13, 10, eight; girl, four.

6. Melissa, Clarendon, was seriously affected by the last hurricane; asking for household items.

7. Neighbour trying to start a small dressmaking business; already has sewing machine but would really need some fabric.

8. Lorraine, a mother of five, is asking for clothes and shoes for them. Boys: 16 and four; girls: 14, 12 and two.

9. Phyllis, St Ann, asking for assistance with cost of surgery. Family members are helping but are still way below the target: $1.68 million.

10. Hubert, Kingston, once worked as a security officer, now suffers from glaucoma; asking for help to purchase eye drops and food. Wants to sell oranges and bagged juices to make a living.

To help, call 906-3167, 884-3866, 373-7745 or 299-3412, or email and we will make the link. Those who desire to help us with our financial obligations may make deposits to account 351 044 276 at the National Commercial Bank. (Bank routing password: JNCBJMKX) or send donations to Hello Neighbour, c/o 53 Half-Way Tree Road, Kingston 10.