JOHN EGGERS COLUMN: Are you concerned about something?

Has anyone ever asked you, “What are you concerned about?” Did they ask a follow-up question, “How do you translate that concern into action?”

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John Eggers

Has anyone ever asked you, “What are you concerned about?” Did they ask a follow-up question, “How do you translate that concern into action?”

What does it mean to show genuine concern for a cause? Martin Luther King, Jr. showed genuine concern for the rights of African American people and he dedicated his life trying to right the wrongs.

Red Lake Chairman Roger Jourdain dedicated his life to maintaining the sovereign status of the Red Lake Nation as well as ensuring that the tribal rights of the Red Lake people were not violated. The fights of King and Jourdain still go on.

In 1940, Sister Kenny traveled to the United States from Australia and eventually to Minneapolis, where she established the Sister Kenny Institute.

She was concerned about the treatment of polio victims and developed physical therapy principles still used today. Every physical therapist should have a picture of her in their office.


The United Way has its foundation in Denver, Colorado. In 1887, religious leaders founded the Charity Organization Society, which was the first United Way organization.

It planned and coordinated local services and conducted a single fundraising campaign for 22 agencies. The first fundraising campaign raised $21,700. In 2021, the United Way in Bemidji raised over $600,000.

It’s important to mention how organizations like the Bemidji Lions and First Cities Lions Clubs as well as Sunrise and Noon Rotary, Bemidji Elks and Eagles, religious organizations and other groups in Bemidji contribute thousands of dollars every year to needy causes.

They do this because they show concern for others. By the way, if you are not a member, contact any of these organizations to join.

To show concern means to affect something or build a specific connection with or be responsible for something. If we were not concerned about things, I don’t think any of us would be here. What the world needs now is not so much love but more concern.

A wife is concerned about her husband’s drive home. She calls him on the phone. “Dear, please be careful on the road today. I just heard on the radio that there is a driver going the wrong way down the highway.” Her husband replies, "Oh, it's not just one. There are hundreds of them.”

Every week Kathy and I receive dozens and dozens of letters from groups who are concerned about a certain cause.

The Nature Conservancy, Minnesota Land Trust, Institute for Cancer Research, ACLU, Lakeland PBS, American Lung Association, United Way, Greenpeace, and more and more and more. All of these organizations show concern for something and ask us to demonstrate our concern by making a contribution to the cause. I am sure you receive many of the same requests.


It’s hard to make a choice with hundreds and hundreds of groups asking you to show concern for their cause. We realize that without showing concern for something, nothing good will happen, and nothing will be affected.

If you have a dog that is ill and you have no concern for the animal, the dog will eventually die unless you take some responsibility for it.

Remember the Covid-19 crisis? How can we forget? Initially, there was an attempt to belittle the impact it would have on the United States. There was a serious attempt to sweep it under the carpet, to show little concern. “It will go away.” “No need to worry.” “It’s no worse than the flu.” Remember?

Well, only when we developed a deeper concern for Covid-19 did we begin to have an impact on preventing it from getting worse. This lack of concern cost thousands of lives. We currently have had over a million and 100,000 deaths in the United States and over 6 million deaths worldwide.

What do we do to show concern? First, it’s important for everyone to show genuine concern about a cause.

You start first with your family and yourself and then you look at how you can help your neighbor in your own community or in another community or your neighbors in another part of the world.

Second, you transform your concern into action, into actually doing something. It could be in the form of giving dollars or labor. Both are welcome.

Maybe you can identify a concern where little concern is shown. Pastor Bob Kelly did this with the Peoples Church and with the homeless.


Andy Wells at Wells Technology showed concern when he began his on-the-job training program for Native people. So, is there an area that needs your concern? Can you do something about it? Maybe you can get the ball rolling.

Here’s an area where we need to show greater concern. You probably know what I am going to say. We need to show greater concern about the graduation rate. We have a good start in Beltrami County, but the percentages remain stagnant.

I need to do more. We need to do more. Please remind every young person that they need to graduate and don’t give up. The benefits of having a 100% graduation rate are enormous.

Tom Peters, the author of "Thriving on Chaos and also In Pursuit of Excellence" and business consultant, said when he was asked to comment on “What makes for a good manager?” He said, “I can tell you how to be a good manager in one nanosecond. From this moment on, stop doing anything less than excellent.”

How can you be a better person? From this moment on let’s all show concern for some cause and then let’s commit this concern to action.

Riddle: Can you solve this word puzzle? DIE DIE 4 (Answer: To die for. Millions of soldiers have died for a concern. What can we do to show our concern?)


I want to thank the Noon Rotary and Sunrise Rotary, Bemidji Lions, First City Lions, Elks and Eagles for supporting a 100% graduation goal for our young people.

John R. Eggers of Bemidji is a former university professor and area principal. He also is a writer and public speaker.

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