We are all created equal. How many times have you heard this statement? How many times have you thought about this statement? How many times have you wondered where this statement originated and more importantly, how many of you believe this statement to be true?
For me, this quote has been a defining theme in my life. It has helped shape who I am as a person; from my thoughts, beliefs, values, and actions to my success, happiness, philanthropic endeavors, and work. It’s driven me to see the good in all people. It has allowed me to understand that every person deserves a chance to create the life they want to live, and the importance of giving people respect and love because they are special, simply for the reason that they have been created.
The phrase was coined by Thomas Jefferson while writing the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Benjamin Franklin, like a good friend and steward, added a few words at the beginning, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal” and Jefferson finished with “that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
Growing up in a family with five siblings and two incredible parents I was taught by word and deed that all people, regardless of their circumstance, are equal. No one is sent to this earth better than another. I can vividly remember as a child the manner in which my father would treat people, and of course still to this day at age 86, he continues to treat all no matter who they are, what they look like, where they work, what their title is, how big of a house they live in, what car they drive, what their level of education, etc…with love, respect, and kindness.
I remember taking pictures in my mind of the reaction on people’s faces to his treatment towards them. They are pictures of appreciation, fondness, admiration, warmth, love and yes – sometimes surprise. I can remember how my father, by his kindness, could turn someone’s face from a frown to a smile. Often times I would look at the person, and by most people’s measurement, it would be a person that most others would ignore, but my father would treat them as if they were the most important person in the world. What amazed me then and still does is how genuine and sincere the love expressed, received, and reciprocated.
If you were not able to see the two people talking and could only hear my father conversing with the person – you would think it was two long lost childhood friends. You would think they were equal that not one man stood higher in any means. I remember being in awe every time I witnessed an encounter and I remember the warmth that I felt. I knew what my father was doing was making a significant impact on these people’s lives but what I didn’t realize, until I was an adult, was the profound significance it had made on my own life. I learned by my father’s example what the statement means, “We are all created equal”.
Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin understood this fact, so immensely, that they included it in one of the most famous written declarations of all times; and I believe the reason for the inclusion is so as a country we will always be reminded of this vitally important fact. I love how they preceded the statement with, “We hold these truths to be self-evident”. Like duh…everyone knows this…all men are created equal…but they explained it anyway just in case, somewhere down the road in America’s history we should forgot…all people are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights which means things that cannot be taken away or denied; life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
I feel so blessed for my father’s example. I feel so humbled to have the understanding I do of the statement, “We are all created equal.” It has allowed me to understand that no person is better than another. That we are all special and that we have all been created with greatness. Your greatness may look different than my greatness…but no one’s greatness is better than another one’s greatness. Some people have developed their talents more. Some people have pushed themselves harder. Some people are further along in their journey. Some people haven’t realized they have greatness within them yet…but none of this diminishes the fact – we all have greatness within us and we truly have been created equal.
The End as of now…let me know if you want me to add more…because of course I can.