My name is Faryn Kushner. I am a junior and a proud sister of Delta Phi Epsilon from Florida Atlantic University.
Today was our third day on the Habitat for Humanity site. As each day progresses we get more comfortable with our new routine and each other. Immersing ourselves within New Orleans seemed difficult before the trip began, but as we spend more time here, it almost seems natural. The day was spent mostly installing windows and re-enforcing the interior walls of the house. Something we've all come to appreciate from working with the Habitat crew is that they encourage us to do things we never thought we could be capable of, and if they aren't done correctly the first time, it isn't a serious issue. They treat all of us with respect and give us the responsibility of building something that will house a family one day; which is more responsibility and paradoxically less pressure than most of us have ever experienced. It has shown us all the important lesson of "not sweating the small stuff" that we allow ourselves to become frustrated by very often. I had a lot of difficulty removing a nail from a incorrectly placed beam and when I has asked the Habitat crew member for help, he told me, "You can do this, practice makes perfect" and sure enough, after a few tries I did. Encouraging us as individuals to move forward when given the chance has shown us this week that we can accomplish anything if we try.
Tonight's discussion focused on Congruence; the more developed version of Consciousness of Self. Congruence is not only identifying ones personal values, beliefs, attitudes and emotions but acting consistently with them. Many people identified this as an important issue that they see others and themselves sometimes struggle with. Many values that were discussed included justice, knowledge, service, tolerance, scholarship, passion, loyalty, character and personal growth. As we are working on this house in a community different than our own, and living with 23 individuals from all around the United States, we have reflected on our values numerous times; and were given sound advice to look toward our ritual if we ever feel lost, because it is the ever trusting compass that always points to the true north. Martin Luther King once said, "We are prone to judge success by the index of our salaries or the size of our automobiles, rather than by the quality of our service and the relationship to humanity." We discussed that this occurs because salaries and possessions are tangible things, and unfortunately you cannot always see all of the great service someone has completed. Service is beyond a fulfilling and rewarding experience and it should not be a rare occurrence, because regardless of the size, it still makes an impactful change, much larger than imagined. We spoke about how crucial it is to be congruent with our values, because we are all leaders within our organizations and throughout our Greek community. In the beginning of the trip we were asked to give up one thing we could live without for the week, to help us immerse in the culture of those affected by hurricane Katrina, and tonight we were asked to give up another item until the end of our trip. This week has shown me how much we all take for granted, and how sometimes we can be unappreciative of the conveniences we are given. The students on the trip participated in an activity where we were each given cards that had values on them. Some were good, some were bad and some were relative. We got into 5 groups of 4 and became and island, where we decided to either vote people off, join another island or vote on a new member of the island. It helped all of us realize that islands with inhabitants who possess motivating and awesome values could progress to no bounds, but ones with too many discouraging values could hinder their growth. A very wise Theta Chi once shared his favorite quote by Albert Einstein with me, "example is not a form of leadership, it is the only form." In order to lead an organization so that the best values are the ones that your members will focus on, you must lead by example through congruence.