Make the World Work for Me
For those of us of a certain age, John F. Kennedy is a strong memory. A memory of a modern Camelot, a new generation, the age of Aquarius.
The day of his inauguration as President was chilly, and the wind was cold. Regardless of the weather, the crowd was eager and looking forward to a new generation of leadership, the youngest ever president, a president for the hip generation. Everyone expected great things, and that day, he did not disappoint.
Though young, he was a skilled orator; he knew the power of a good speech. In that speech, he called on all Americans to think and act differently when he said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask rather, what you can do for your country.”
This dramatic and powerful statement has been repeated again and again. It was a sentence that was compelling and memorable, phrasing that could make a presidency.
The president may have been young, but he knew oratorical tricks. He understood the power of making a statement and immediately turning it back on itself to highlight the lesson to be learned. To make a point by advancing a proposition and then doubling back in the same statement is an excellent rhetorical flourish.
At a recent AA meeting, I heard a share that used the same technique. My AA brother said, “I demanded that everything work out the way I wanted, that everything work to make my life easy. I demanded happiness from the world. Amused, God replied, ‘Ask Me not to make the world unfold for you, ask rather what I need you to do to make my world unfold for Me.’”