There is something very unique and most special about Lynnwood. In Lynnwood, starting from the top, from the leadership on down to the incredible people who live and work here, there is a sense of acceptance and almost a warmth, if it could be described as such.
The unity in this city is not about tolerance. No, it is so much deeper and broader than tolerating another. It is open armed acceptance and interest. It is genuine and joyous, it is an acceptance that is surely rooted within the words of the declaration of independence which states that, “All Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
From her book, The Power of Meaning, Emily Esfahani Smith wrote, “research has clearly shown that what actually makes people happy isn’t prioritizing happiness itself, but rather pursuing meaningful endeavors, like relationships and goals and purposes.”
This is what education and sharing day is about. The foundation of true happiness and purpose. Rabbi Menachem M Schneerson, of righteous memory whom this proclamation honors and has been honoring every since President Carter first issued it in 1978, taught that there is no such thing as a small or insignificant human being. Rather every human being is invaluable and indispensable not only within a particular family or community but for the world as a whole.
As the saying goes, “Birth is God’s way of saying you matter.”
Upon this premise, the Rabbi Schneerson, taught that education should not be limited to the acquisition of knowledge and preparation for a career. Instead, the educational system must pay more attention. Indeed, the main attention to building of character, with emphasis on moral and ethical values. A critical component of which, is the simple and basic, yet sadly often elusive recognition, that you matter.
We must teach our children that yes, you matter. Not because you think you are important, or because others tell you that you are, or because of your buying power, monetary value, looks, performance or productivity level. But because God put you here.
You are an indispensable musical note. Irreplaceable. Period. The world would be different if you were not here or if you do not fulfill your calling.
I believe that this simple message, the message of education and sharing day, is preventive medicine for much of the tragedy and suffering that plague our world today, the shootings, the hatred, the suicides, the wars. We need to reach out to every person, to every child, every parent, every educator, every leader, with the message: you matter.
Your life and what you do with it matters. You are indispensable to God and to this world.
Rabbi Barel Paltiel