The Power of Small Acts
I recently interviewed my friend Emad Rahim. It was an interesting and insightful conversation. I love that I was surprised to learn new things about this guy.
He shared so many powerful stories. In a previous post, I discussed his race riot story and how it demonstrated that our “tribal”divisions can quickly escalate into violence. Equally powerful were the stories of two men who gave him some extra attention, attention that changed the course of his life.
Emad and his family escaped a genocide, lived in a refugee camp, and even after escaping that life, struggled with poverty, abuse, and homelessness, in the United States. All this negativity can harden a person’s heart and push them to not care about others. He found himself on this path, selling drugs to members of his own community.
That was, until he met someone in his high school that forced him to think about those consequences. This man helped Emad to see how his actions took food out of the mouths of children and contributed to their abuse and homelessness. This experience turned Emad’s life around, teaching him personal responsibility and integrity. He started taking his studies more serious, which led him to his next mentor. It was in college where he met a professor that encouraged him to get tested for a learning disability. Emad discovered that he had dyslexia.This meant that Emad’s bad grades weren’t a reflection of his natural intelligence, rather the lack of a proper education. This professor helped him to identify a school that would better meet his needs, and this led Emad to pursue higher education.
He’s now an author, higher education executive, entrepreneur, mentor and proud husband and father. Two people, who could have said it wasn’t their problem, decided to help this young man. They helped him to grow from a drug dealer to a family man that now helps others get an education.
We tend to blame people like Emad who resort to crime to make ends meet. His story demonstrates how people lives can be turned around completely by just a couple people who went that extra mile. Imagine the change we could make in the world if we would just change, “not my job” to “how can I help you?”