Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Lesson from Navajo Man

What do you expect? Of course this is a story about a Navajo...everyone knows how I feel about where I'm from

         A number of years ago I was in the Southwest Indian Mission and waited some time to meet with the new mission president, Alfred E. Rohner, who was in an interview with an Indian brother. 
             Afterwards he told us that this Navajo man had appeared at the office and asked to see him.  President Rohner invited the man into his office, and they sat there for a long time and said nothing.  President Rohner, familiar with the Navajos, knew that this was the Indian way, that it wasn't necessary to be talking all the while the man was there, and he sat ther for a long time.  After considerable time the Navajo asked President Rohner how to spell a word.
           I have forgotten what the word was-it was not an uncommon word, but a word of three or four syllables.  President Rohner gave him the correct spelling, and then the Navajo brother asked if President Rohner would write it on a piece of paper for him.  He did so, and the Indian brother gave an indication that he was going to leave.  President Rohner was interested in why the man wanted to know how to spell that word, and after visiting with him, he learned something very interesting. 
                This Navajo brother was working for the tribal council.  He was employed on  a road crew and was evidently a dependable worker for the week before he had been made a forman of his crew.  At the end of the week it was necessary for him to fill in some forms.  He had a meager education and was able to speak English well and write to a degree.  Filling in forms, however, presented something of a challenge.  In doing so, he found that he could not spell one of the words.  So he had driven 70 miles to mission headquarters to ask President Rohner how to spell it. 
                President Rohner then asked him, "Why did you come all the way here?  There are many people who could have helped you with the spelling.  You could have gone to the trading post or stopped at the gas station or gone to one of the schools and saved the long trip." 
The Navajo man replied in logic that is very sensible to anyone who is a teacher. "You are my friend, so I came here."

I love where I'm from. 

1 comment:

LeashyLoo said...

I love the story Larissa...awesome.