Humane: Do Some Good
Not For Us Alone
F.A. Seiberling and his brother, C.W. started the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in Akron, Ohio in 1898. They didn’t name it for themselves, but for the man who invented the vulcanization process, Charles Goodyear. By the turn of the century, F.A. had the means to build a large home for his growing family. He went all out and put up a mansion fit for royalty surrounded by palatial gardens and expansive grounds. He and his wife, Gertrude, had a specific intention in mind when they built this grand estate. They wanted to share it with others. Over their front door, they installed a plaque that reads, “Non Nobis Solum” (Not for Us Alone).
I visited their home, named the Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens, a few years ago. I stopped in the gift shop on my way out and bought a small rock which has the family motto painted on it. I’ve got it sitting on my desk, under my lamp, in the light, so I won’t forget the lesson in hospitality from the Seiberling family.
Here is an excerpt from the website which tells how the Seiberling’s displayed hospitality and the great ideas that resulted:
The Estate became a beacon of progress for F.A. and his business associates, who often met here to discuss and negotiate the challenges of the day. It served as an international stage for well known figures in music, the arts and politics, and it was the site where daughter-in-law Henrietta brought together Bill W. and Dr. Bob for a discussion that led ultimately led to the creation of Alcoholics Anonymous, an organization that has benefitted millions worldwide.
Hospitality is defined as, “The friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.”
Have you ever been homeless? Do you know what it’s like to not know where your next meal will come from? Right now, our world is experiencing the greatest migration of refugees since WWII. How can we help? How can we show hospitality?
I found a great story about the Prime Minister of Finland and his solitary act of kindness to help the refugees coming into his country. He simply offered his home. Granted, he had one to spare, but nevertheless, he is offering his home, located north of Helsinki. No doubt it is furnished handsomely, and with many of his own personal comforts, yet, he is willing to share his home with refugees.
Here’s an excerpt from the September 5, 2015 article in Al Jazeera:
Finland's prime minister has offered his private home in northern Finland to asylum seekers, at a time of a massive flow of refugees to Western Europe through land and sea.
Juha Sipila told state media that his home in Kempele, located 500km north of the capital Helsinki, could be used to accommodate asylum seekers after the end of the year.
"We should all look in the mirror and ask ourselves how we can help… My house is not being used much at the moment. My family lives in Sipoo [east of Helsinki] and the prime minister's residence is located in Kesaranta," Sipila told public broadcaster YLE.
[...] Maija Karjalainen, secretary of international affairs for the conservative Finns Party, said that the prime minister's move was positive, but could not be implemented by many Finns. "It is a move to be an example for others in helping refugees, but we should not forget that the prime minister is in a unique position, having a house available for this purpose," she told Al Jazeera. "Not all Finns have the space, finances or the capacity to do the same."
The anti-immigration Finns Party is in a coalition government with Prime Minister Sipila's Centre Party.
[...] Finnish citizens who talked to Al Jazeera have varied views about the prime minister's initiative.
"This [the PM’s move] is upholding and continuation of the Finnish tradition to deal with this sort of crisis," Reeta Paakkinen, a 36-year-old, non-fiction writer from Helsinki, told Al Jazeera.
"In 1939, when the USSR attacked Finland, hundreds of thousands of Karelians were evacuated from their home region to West Finland and accommodated in fellow people's homes… My own family was among these people, so I really appreciate the move of our prime minister."
[...] Heini Kuusela, a 36-year-old journalist from Heinola, said Finland was a big country in size and could accommodate more refugees than it has been taking. "There are small villages in Finland shutting down schools because there are not enough children attending. There is a room if there's a will," she said.
[...] Recently, thousands of people from Iceland, another Nordic country, offered their homes to refugees through a Facebook page after the government announced it would accept only 50 refugees.
If you’d like to help the refugees but don’t know where to start, the United Nations Refugee Agency has the know-how. You can contribute funds or volunteer.