Movers and Shakers

Editor's Note: The following comments were delivered by Nancy Burns at the CABS Seminar.

I recently heard a discussion on the subject of Murphy's Law. You know, the law that says, "Anything that could go wrong, will go wrong." Apparently, there is an entire book listing Murphy's laws. The focus of this discussion was on the one that says, "If a person drops a slice of buttered bread on the floor it will always land buttered-side down." A recent event had occurred which brought together many academicians and intense investigation. Someone had dropped a slice of buttered bread on the floor and it had landed buttered-side up.

Measurements were taken. The depth of the carpet was measured. The information gathered was taken back to the lab and studied. A conclusion was finally reached. The conclusion was that the bread had been buttered on the wrong side.

And you might ask, What does this have to do with the NFB? Hopefully, very little. It is my observation that those who believe in Murphy's Law are pessimists and never see the bright side of life. You probably know some of these people who believe, "Oh, if it weren't for bad luck I'd have no luck at all." Federationists, fortunately, do not abide by this philosophy. It is also my observation that Federationists tend to have a more optimistic attitude-a belief that things are feasible or doable-perhaps a movers and shakers kind of attitude.

In 1940 when Dr. tenBroek gathered a handful of blind people together the NFB would not have been created if he had not held the movers and shakers attitude. I doubt that Dr. tenBroek would have used those words but he was definitely thinking "outside of the box" by creating an organization of blind people to speak for the blind.

As students, I suspect most of you have a bit of this movers and shakers philosophy. If you had not believed in yourself you might not have undertaken this course of action.

Think of the movers and shakers that you have met in the NFB. I have often commented on the wonderful mentors I had as I went through my college years. Things have certainly changed, however, since I was a coed. When I was in school, a mouse was something a person caught in a trap. I suppose a mouse pad would have been the mouse-house. A virus was something that generally sent a person to bed, although some computer viruses may have the same effect on some of us.

The NFB is a wonderful training ground which balances out your student activities. Within the NFB you are given numerous opportunities to gain skills and self-confidence. Within the local chapter and state levels you may learn how to organize, speak in public, advocate, and to assume leadership roles.

Movers and shakers are willing to take risks. Those who follow Murphy's Law take no risks for they are convinced all would fail. Federationists are willing to go out on a limb and take risks. We are also willing to go that extra mile for fellow Federationists.

One cold, rainy morning, five years ago, Don and I came to San Francisco. We stopped under the awning of a restaurant and waited for Nick Medina, who soon arrived. We stood under that awning and hugged each other, wet raincoats and all. We jokingly said, "Only dedicated Federationists would come out in weather like this." It was on that day that many of you met with us, and the San Francisco chapter of the NFBC was born.

It has long been my desire to return the wealth of information that has been given to me by my loving and caring mentors. It is your responsibility to take note of the gifts you have been given and to pass them along to your blind brothers and sisters.

I feel so fortunate that I was introduced to the NFB during my college years. It was the greatest gift I ever received as a student. It was Dr. Isabelle Grant, a blind educator, who urged me to go to college and it was Muzzy Marcellino, a rehabilitation counselor, who taught me that it is respectable to be blind.

As students, you are accustomed to receiving assignments. Here is your assignment for today: Make a promise to yourself that you will share the Federation philosophy and that you will go out there and become great movers and shakers.

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