From the time we were kids we’ve heard that we have duties and obligations to honor and fulfill. Over the course of a lifetime, those duties and obligations change for most of us and become more complex and difficult to embrace. Contrary to what some people think, the words duty and obligation are not synonymous. Rather, a duty is an internally compelling motive to act while an obligation is an externally compelling motive to act. For example, we know it’s our duty to care for our families, but we see working late to meet a deadline as an obligation. These are simple comparisons, but having made the point, I’d like to talk about the deeper, more persuasive aspects of our duties and obligations that affect us as a society, influencing our behavior towards others as we try to make this a better world. In this sense we have both duties and obligations and President Obama brought the idea home beautifully in his election night speech when he said:
“…We cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together. We may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction—towards a better future…”.
Everyone sees what needs to be done. If you pay attention to the news media you’ll hear resounding cries for help from people throughout the world. It’s human nature to be aware of a sense of obligation to these people but sadly our feelings of powerlessness get in the way of action. You can understand, then, why The Ray Tye Medical Aid Foundation feels deeply privileged when we can pay for needed medical care in the devastating, life-threatening situations that come to our attention. We are able to act on our duty and our moral obligation as we involve ourselves in unusually difficult cases and work toward happy conclusions. We can do this because of your generous financial support.
Sometimes we’re asked why we help so many children from war-torn places in the world. And the answer is because we owe them something. These youngsters are the hope of tomorrow, but some are literally left on the battlefield—their physical wounds deep and life-threatening; their spiritual wounds, though not bleeding, are severe enough to cause death. They have witnessed their parents and siblings die, they have been kept in substandard facilities without medical help, and they are alone. We are proud to show them a new landscape, hoping to save their lives and to inspire them that there is good in this world.
Closer to home we face the duty of fighting for the lives of people who have ineffective insurance. We feel obliged to act as advocate, pushing unresponsive insurance companies to realize they cannot place a value on a human life. We hope someday to be able to influence insurers to pay for so-called “experimental” procedures when lives might be saved by them, and we long for the day when health care reforms level the playing field among insurance carriers to guarantee fair coverage for all.
I hope you will read this issue carefully and be prompted to continue supporting our efforts. Working together, we will be in a better position to abide by our duties and satisfy our obligations to so many.
GOD BLESS YOU.
A. Raymond Tye