The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
SMU professor to return to campus after being trapped in Gaza for 12 years
Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024

Reap rewards by putting self second

I think we can all agree that the world is kind of sucky. There is enough wrong with it. The world doesn’t need our help to make the situation worse than it is. Life’s too short to spend it angry.

Instead, if you’re unhappy with something, try and make it better. Fixing “little things” can make a huge difference to the people they affect.

For instance, Engineers Without Borders is doing something pretty awesome over spring break. The students are going to a tiny village in Guatemala to start installation of a water tank and piping system. The village has a spring, but no way to safely store water.

A good friend of mine is on the first team, which is going to start the installation and leave some work for the villagers. Then, a few months later at the start of summer, a second group will visit and finish the job. How cool is that? It’s people like this that truly make a difference in the world, and I think that’s awesome.

One of my favorite examples of someone who puts others first is the Lamplighter in “The Little Prince.” By the way, if you have gotten this far in life and have not read “The Little Prince,” you should stop everything you are currently doing and read it.

Anyway, the Lamplighter is one of the people that the Little Prince meets on his journey. This man puzzles the Little Prince because he finds him much less absurd than any of the others he has met thus far (including a greedy businessman, a hopeless drunk and a ridiculous king to name a few). The Lamplighter has a simple job. He lights the lamp at night and puts it out in the morning. The only problem is that a day on his planet is only a minute long and thus his job is quite tiresome.

A lot of people see the Lamplighter as someone who blindly follows what they are told without question.

I however, have always seen him as someone who fulfills his duty and puts others above himself and his own desires.

His job is hard, no doubt, but he reaps great rewards by putting others above himself. The Little Prince notes that the businessman, the king, the drunk and all the rest of the people he met would look down on the Lamplighter for his selflessness and humility.

The Little Prince, however, notes that the Lamplighter was the only person he had met that, “did not seem to me ridiculous. Perhaps that is because he is thinking of something else besides himself.”

And the great rewards I mentioned earlier? Well, because of the quick rotation of his planet that led to his tedious burden, the Lamplighter (and the Little Prince who visited him) got to experience 1440 sunrises every day.

Side note: I don’t know if you’ve ever witnessed a beautiful sunrise, but it is pretty awesome. Wake up early one day and watch the sun rise over White Rock Lake.

Then perhaps, the Little Prince’s final thoughts of the Lamplighter will make a bit more sense. If we had a few more people like the Lamplighter, the world would be a much better place.

Brad is a junior majoring in mechanical engineering. 

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