On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often occur there once was a crude little life-saving station: a hut, one boat, and a few devoted members. These kept a constant watch over the sea, going out day and night tirelessly searching for the lost. Some of those who were saved, and others in the area, wanted to join the station. They gave of their time, money, and effort to support its work. New boats were bought and new crews trained. The little life-saving station grew.

          Some members became dissatisfied that the building was so crude and poorly equipped. “A more comfortable place should be provided as the first refuge for those being saved from the sea,” many insisted. Expensive beds replaced cots; only the finest furniture inhabited the enlarged building.

          Slowly the station became a regular gathering place for its members. “Ordinary” members no longer went to sea on lifesaving missions-they hired professional crews to do this highly technical work. The life-saving motif still prevailed in the club’s decoration, however. There was even a symbolic lifeboat in the room where the club initiations were held.

          A large ship was wrecked off the coast and the hired crews brought in boatloads of cold, wet and half-drowned people. They were dirty and sick-some even spoke another language. The building and grounds committee had a shower house built so that victims could be cleaned up before coming inside the beautiful club.

          Soon there was a split in the membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club’s life-saving activities altogether: “Too technical, risky, and disruptive to the life of the club.” Others insisted that life saving was their purpose: “We still call ourselves a life-saving station, don’t we?” Alas, these were voted down. “If you want to save lives why not begin your own life-saving station down the coast?” They did.

          As the years went by, the new station experienced the same evolution that had occurred in the first. It slowly changed into a membership club and yet another life-saving station was founded. If you visit that seacoast today you will find hundreds of exclusive clubs up and down the shore. Yes, shipwrecks are still frequent in those dangerous waters-but most of the victims perish.

                                                                                  —Copied (Author Unknown)

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