Nobility Lessons From a Gang

… the cause which I knew not I searched out. -Job

They are called the “James Gang.” The apparent leader of the gang is wider than the rest of the gang – linebacker looking. The James Gang is only six strong but it has overwhelmed its rivals. The James Gang is running the time honored protection racket. What is a little different is the gang formed to protect one guy. Well, it’s also unique in that they don’t charge the guy for protection. Instead, they buy him stuff that every fifth grader needs. Well, they also named their gang after the guy they are protecting – James Willmert – that’s sort of unusual.1

Nobility Lesson One: They Sought Him Out

Two fifth graders saw it on the playground. Kids were using James and “taking advantage of him” because he had special needs, because “he’s easier to pick on….”2 James didn’t ask for their help, but they, five of them, after what they saw on the playground, decided invite James to sit at their lunch table. With James, that makes the gang six strong, six fifth grade boys.

I don’t have a crystal ball that sees into the future, but I’m convinced that James would have never asked for help. There were all those guys who would help, but James didn’t know it. Since James had lunch right before recess, he decided that his best strategy was to eat slow, be the last person outside. The later he was to recess, the shorter the time was for people to mess with him. Pretty good strategy from James’ point of view. The James Gang had a better strategy, they sought James out. They invited James to the lunch table.

The first nobility lesson is actually a quote from one of the James Gang members, Jack Pemble. Jack reached out to James because what was happening to him was “just not right.”3 The James Gang saw something that was not right in their community and did something about it. If there isn’t an obvious wrong, can you seek out something that is just not right?

Nobility Lesson Two: They Made Him a Part

Before the James Gang, James was alone. Because he was alone it was easy for people to take advantage of him. Now, James sits at the lunch table with the James Gang. At recess, he plays touch football with the James Gang.

Nobody takes advantage of James anymore.

The second nobility lesson is really about point of view. Inviting James to the lunch table created some new difficulties for the boys. It was messier. Before they could eat their lunch in peace. Now James is pushing them to hurry so they can get outside for recess. But from James’s point of view, he is not alone anymore; things may be messier but they are better.

Is there something that you have thought about doing to make something right but you avoid it because it might create some difficulties? Or it might make a mess? Consider looking at it from another point of view.

Nobility Lesson Three: They Opened Raisins and Tied Shoes

As seamlessly as they pass the football back and forth, the James Gang passes favors. Before, James would have skipped the raisins that came with his lunch – he couldn’t open the package. Now getting to his raisins is as easy as handing the raisin box off to a fellow gang member who hands the opened box right back. When James needs help tying his shoe, another gang member whips out an expert knot.

Of course, every gang requires some assimilation. The fact that James didn’t know video game lingo bothered the other gang members. James didn’t have any video game systems, how would he learn the lingo? The first friends that James ever had over to his house was the James Gang. They came over to help James install his new video game. The one they bought with their own money (with a little help from their parents). Now James can speak the video game lingo.

The third nobility lesson is about opportunity. Before inviting James to their table, the James Gang would have had to put a little effort into finding ways to serve. Every now and then, they may have done something noble. After inviting James to their lunch table, nobility is a way of life. It doesn’t just stop at their elementary school. The day I discovered the video below, I shared it with everyone I came in contact with. In all, the video has been shared over ten million times.

It may not be opening a box of raisins or tying a shoe, but is there something you can do – even a little something – that might have a huge payoff? This is an invitation to do something, join a gang, a James Gang.

Nobility In Action. What’s Your Story?

### Brandon L. Blankenship

  1.  ©2016 Brandon L. Blankenship
  2. (Retrieved 24FEB2016).
  3. Supra.
About The Author

Brandon Blankenship

Brandon L. Blankenship is a continuing legal education presenter and business educator. He is the author of Unmasking Hour. He writes weekly posts on the legal industry and is a contributor to the Nobility Academy. He and his wife Donnalee live on their hobby farm south of Birmingham, Alabama.