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Michael Podesta is a calligrapher. In his portfolio is a piece titled, "Imagine." Using his pen and brush he invites the viewer to imagine a different world. Many years before Podesta drew this piece the Beatles sang the song, "Imagine." The tune is memorable. Some of the words are provocative such as: "Imagine no need for greed or hunger." "Imagine all the people living in peace." Imagine nothing to kill or die for." In 1993 Mark Johnson wrote the book "Moral Imagination." The book jacket describes his work as an examination of the "implication of cognitive science on the the field of ethics." Initially this description appears to be for only academics. However, Johnson is challenging the the way we teach and understand ethics. He states that "moral imagination is the ability to imaginatively discern various possibilities for acting in a given situation and to envision the potential help and harm that are likely to result from a given action." Imagination is an intriguing dimension to the human personality. It is imagination that enables us to see things differently. Imagination can lift the mind and spirit to heights of awe and grandeur as well as incite the mind and spirit to evil actions and foolish ideas. Podesta, The Beatles and Mark Johnson invite us to go beyond the status quo, take flight from mediocrity, and embrace a way of living that relies upon empathy. In other words moral imagination is built upon the notion of "walking in the other person's shoes." Today our world is characterized by the stark and graphic images of war, violence, fear, hate, ecological disasters, lack of trust and respect, hunger, Aids, poverty, drugs and the list goes on. These are the harsh realities that assault our sensibilities and with which we contend to a greater or lesser degree. These are the images that have the potential to shape our outlook and view point. As a result, it is difficult to imagine a world that is peaceful, productive, gracious and just. Several years ago the phrase "random acts of kindness" became popular. These "random acts" emerged from people who attempted to understand what another person might be experiencing and then provide a helpful response. Organizations such as Rotary have been engaging in moral imagination for years. We in Rotary dare to imagine a world where the negatives are overcome by self forgetful service. This moral imagination is not a mind game played in the comfort and quietness of our homes. It requires stamina, courage and kindness. It starts when we are willing to exchange places with the other person and then listen to what is being said. What can we imagine for this new Rotary Year?

Hamilton-Wenham Rotary and Leslie Ray Insurance to sponsor scholarships for Safe Driving Program

Safe driving photo.The Hamilton – Wenham Rotary Club, School District, Leslie Ray Insurance, and In-Control Advanced Driver Training are teaming up to educate young drivers and parents about responsible driving. Leslie Ray Insurance President Rich Jones offered $5000.00 to the Hamilton - Wenham Rotary Club to offer scholarships to Hamilton-Wenham High School students. Rotary Club President and Wenham Police Chief Ken Walsh claims that inexperienced drivers can cause serious damage to themselves and others on the road and would recommend that young drivers take every opportunity to learn as much as possible before getting behind the wheel.

In-Control Advanced Driver Training was founded in 2003 by professional racecar driver Brandon Bogart in an effort to lower the number of accidents caused by driver error. Automobile crashes are the number one killer of people under 45 and In Control’s program has been found to reduce crash rates in new drivers by 70 percent.

The half day In-Control program is an extreme crash prevention training course designed to not only teach participants the appropriate way to respond to unavoidable, real-life road situations, but also to instill lifelong attitudes that make safer drivers.  This closed course hands-on education was adapted from existing law enforcement training that Bogart has been instructing for more than a decade. Drive In Control Link.

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