Muhammad Ali passed away last night. Known as “The Greatest,” Ali remains the only three-time lineal world heavyweight champion. He was one of the 100 Most Important People of the Century, Sportsman of the Century, recipient of the Presidential Citizens Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
He was an inspiration to millions. Countless books and blockbuster movies recount his rise to fame.
I’m not familiar with a single one of them. No, it was a nine-minute video of the boxing legend shared by my alma mater’s football coach, Hugh Freeze, that captured this mom’s attention.
In the interview, from 1977, Ali is asked by a child what he plans to do when he retires.
He was only 35.
“God don’t praise me because I beat Joe Frasier, God don’t give nothing about Joe Frasier.
God don’t care nothing about England or America as far as real wealth, it’s all His.
He wants to know ‘How do we treat each other, how do we help each other?’
So, I’m gonna dedicate my life to using my name and popularity to helping charities, helping people, uniting people. People bombing each other because of religious beliefs. We need somebody in the world to help make peace. So when I die, if there’s a Heaven, I want to see it.”
Ali explained to the audience that if you add up the time we spend sleeping, attending school and working the time we have is even shorter than we realize.
I watched the video three more times thinking about how relevant Ali’s statements were today, in 2016.
“People bombing each other because of religious beliefs. We need someone in the world to help make peace.”
Muhammad Ali was Muslim.
He wanted peace.
He wanted to dedicate his life to putting people first by helping them and uniting them.
Think about how unstoppable we would be if more people thought this way? I’m not a politician so I won’t speak to politics, but I am a mother. I have over sixteen years of experience in that field.
What if mom’s took on Ali’s mindset and stopped dragging each other through the mud? Stopped the Mommy Wars and just accepted each other’s choices to either work or stay home and helped one another pick up the slack when necessary? Wouldn’t that be the right thing to do? Not only for each other but for the children?
Speaking of our children, as they grow up they will make mistakes. There is no such thing as a perfect child. What if moms treated every kid as if they were her own and we could work together to help raise more helpful and thoughtful individuals? This would end the mom competitions and Gotcha-Mom-ing that end up harming self esteem and friendships.
What if we got up every morning and thought about who we could help and how we could do it? Even if it was on a small scale… Maybe helping means making one phone call to your mother or an old friend? Or putting your cell phone down in the check out line and speaking nicely to the store clerk. Everyone can make a difference!
I have tried to teach my children the value of helping others, but have I lived it every single day?
No. I get caught up in “to do” lists and politics just like everyone else. Sometimes I need reminding. Often from an unlikely source.
Muhammad Ali will always be known as “The Greatest.” The majority of folks will remember him for his titles; I will remember him for his words.
“Live every day as if it were your last because someday you’re going to be right.” -Muhammad Ali