Sunday, November 21, 2010

An Evening With Greg Mortenson

'When it is dark enough... 
  You can see the stars.'
Persian Proverb

Do you remember this little book I talked to you about?

 This Saturday I was lucky enough to get to hear it's author, Greg Mortenson,  speak.  I was very much looking forward to hearing him in person...but what I experienced went way beyond what I expected.

Greg's life work started with a failed attempt to climb K2 - he was climbing to honour his sister, Christa, who had passed away -and he felt that his failure to summit had let her down.  Not by a long shot...that failed climb led him to meet a group of people in Pakistan and to make a promise to  build them a school.  The rest, as they say, is history...

It seems to me that in all the work he does Greg honours his sister, Christa.

"This is my life’s vocation...The rest of my life, I’ll probably be doing this; I feel great joy and empathy in it."
Source:  Buffalo News

It is hard to believe that some one can stand and just talk for about an hour and in that hour make you laugh, cry, ache with empathy, hope, want to do more, be thankful, feel great many emotions.

Greg speaks from such a place of love.  His message is full of hope.  He tells us that he knows that we all have this desire to help others inside of us - I don't think there is a better way to elicit good behavior than to give praise for goodness that he believes is already there within all of us.

Even if the end of the world comes tomorrow...
I will plant my seed today.
(origin of this quote is debatable, but it was used by Martin Luther King Jr.)

Greg used the above quote in his talk - very appropriate in these difficult times - it is good to remember that there is never a time that we should stop planting seeds.

"Through education there can be peace...If you really want to help people you have to empower them."
Greg Mortenson

"Educate a boy, and you educate an individual. Educate a girl, and you educate a community."
African proverb via Greg Mortenson

The respect and sincerity with which Greg operates is so apparent even when listening to him for one short hour.   There are many lessons offered up in his books and in listening to him talk.  How fortunate we are to be able to benefit from all that he has learned.

"When you take the time to actually listen, with humility, to what people have to say, it's amazing what you can learn. Especially if the people who are doing the talking also happen to be children." 
Greg Mortenson

I was happy to share this experience with my dad - and thank you Daddy for making it possible for us to see him.  Greg tells a story about some of the military leaders that have read his book - he said that most of them were introduced to the book by their wives.  My mom is the one who introduced us to Three Cups of Tea.  She read it and said to my dad - 'I think you might like this.'  That was kind of an under-statement!   I wish she could have been with us to see Greg - her influence introduced us to such an amazing man and his amazing accomplishments.  Thank you Mom.

Here is Greg Mortenson's website:

As-salaam Alaaikum (Peace be with you)

xoxo    Elizabeth


  1. what an inspiring man. I haven't read the book yet... but I will.