By Mike Pinto, IPLI Mentor, James Cole Elementary
There is a tradition in Turkey called Askıda ekmek, which means “bread on a hanger” or “suspended bread”. When purchasing a loaf of bread at a bakery, there is a practice in which some say, “One of these loaves is Askida Ekmek.” The bread is bagged, set aside on a hook, and available to someone who comes forward with a need. An individual can approach the bakery and ask, “Askıda ekmek var mi?” (“Is there bread on the hook?”) If there is, the person may take a loaf for free.
There are all sorts of traditions like this in the cultures of our schools – “paying it forward” if you will. What many of us have realized is that we can always look around pretty easily and see someone less fortunate than ourselves. We also don’t have far to look to realize the riches we have in our lives.
Bread on a Hook is a simple thing. Bread, such a staple of meals around the globe, brings warmth and nourishment to the person consuming it. This same bread, when received from ‘the hook’ also carries with it something high in demand and often low in supply – empathy of one person toward another, a stranger.
Finding our way through life, we stumble upon acts of kindness often. We find individuals who look beyond their noses and outside the span of their shadow while thinking of others. We all have taken the interest of others, even strangers, to heart. We all have offered an act of kindness or an example of generosity to the betterment of someone we will never meet nor with him we will ever ‘break bread’. What we don’t know is what impact we have by our offering. Keep Askid Ekmek in mind as you move forward. When you can, do the equivalent of offering a loaf of bread for the hook for someone else. If even for a small moment, you will have made the world better for at least one person. That, in itself, is worth all the bread in the bakery.