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Am I Willing to Be Forgotten?

November 20th, 2015

I heard an interesting comment in one of my recent classes. I was training Family Liaison Officers for an international humanitarian foundation. One of the participants said “I hope that if we ever have to do this, the family will look back and remember our organization, much more than they remember our individual names.” Talk about humility!

Special Assistance Team members (or CARE team members, or family liaison officers, or whatever term we use) play a critical role in providing short-term, practical, compassionate assistance for families and survivors. They fill that role as representatives of a company or organization. That last part is important. Our personal values may compel us to volunteer for the role, but ultimately, it’s not about us. The work can be intense and hard and profoundly meaningful. Doing it well requires our heads and hearts and bones.  And still, it is not about us.

Elizabeth Bibesco said “Blessed are those who can give without remembering, and take without forgetting.” In the work of family assistance, we need a slightly different version: “Blessed are those who can give without needing to be remembered, and whose positive impact is never forgotten.”

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