June 2, 2008


Posted in Buxton, Guyana, Philosophy, Thoughts tagged , , , , , at 6:37 am by randallbutisingh



If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.
Martin Luther King.

Many years ago, i went to the churchyard at Buxton in Guyana. There I met an old man, a member of the church who came to do volunteer work. I had to pause in admiration for what I saw. He was digging a drain with a shovel, but it was cut so neatly that I was amazed. I stood there for some time watching him work, enjoying the excellence he achieved.
There is the story of Booker T. Washington when he went to a school to apply for admission; he was given the job to sweep the school. He did it so thoroughly that he was not only admitted, but he won the favour of the teacher.

– Randall Butisingh



  1. Patanjali Ramlall said,

    Thanks for your kind words, always remember that you were one of my excellent teachers, even though intermittently, and then acting headmaster. In retrospect, I learnt a lot from observing your techniques in teaching, along with your becoming manner, that said as much as what ever was taught.

    EXCELLENCE! Sometimes it can be detrimental. I know of a young man at ages 16 to 21, who did such an outstanding job on the wheel-watching on fishing trawlers that while the older crew members slept, this guy was put on the grave-yard shift, (midnight to dawn,) and averaged five hours of sleep daily.

    Why? His excellence in bringing up a better catch, and handling of the vessel made him a candidate for that position. A former captain paid tribute to that young man’s skills. It was broadcasted to everyone listening to the radio one evening.

    Later on, he paid for that early lack of adequate sleep, with a myriad of stress related illnesses.

    Pay heed!! The educational system currently puts “excellent” students at the same level of risk by over-burdening these scholars with tons of unnecessary homework.

    Example – one of the teachers from a particular school complained to the mother of another student about the teacher’s child facing the same up-hill struggle, too much homework and not enough sleep.

    The strive for “excellence” MUST be constantly balanced with the physical, mental, and coping abilities of all concerned. Parents also suffer to see their children’s plight.

    Sports in today’s world is in the same stressful category because of the lucre. Additionally, no one wants a loser. Caution is highly recommended when pursuing “excellence.”

    Yes, try for excellence, but, as the adage goes “too much of one thig is good for nothing.” “All work and no play ….,” etc.

    Your pupil,
    Patanjali Ramlall
    email: puneedispenser@gmail.com

  2. Patanjali Ramlall said,

    Statistics have shown that most world leaders were not the Leonardo da Vinci’s type of geniuses, but people with “B” grade averages, not exactly mediocre, either.

    Possible reason – early burnouts.

    This one, from yours truly : Or ARE they too intelligent to be involved in the “excellent” art of deceit?

    There’s one with a “C” grade, or even LESS, sitting in …….., take a good guess.

  3. Very good response, Pat. The point Dr. Luther King wants to make is: “Whatever you do, do it with enthusiasm and commitment to the very best of your ability. You accomplished that when you were put on the ‘GRAVEYARD SHIFT’ and because of your commitment, you received tribute from your superior and acclaim from the public. You speak of “all work and no play”; Know too, that when you are doing something that you love, it ceases to be ALL WORK and becomes ALL PLAY. You also must have felt the JOY of accomplishing a task ‘WELL DONE!’
    Thanks for considering me one of your good teachers.

  4. Jim said,

    You are a person of inspiration sir. Thanks for the quote by Martin Luther King and your story. Many years ago I completed a course of study and I was asked to make a speech as the valedictorian. This quote by Dr. King was used in that speech. Keep up the good work.

  5. Thanks Jim for visiting my Blog. I will always be happy to know if my little service is helping in some little way to make this world a little better place. All the best; Will like to hear from you again.

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