Approval Seeking

One reporter asked “What do you think of America?” ‘I like it,’ replied the Master, Americans are optimistic. If you ask them how they are, they say, “All right!” If you ask them how things are going, they say “All right!” This cheerful attitude is good.
(Earl Redman, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Their Midst, p. 56)


‘Abdu’l-Bahá went to the home of Rafael and Mrs. Pumpelly to meet some of Dublin’s elite. Mr. Pumpelly had been a well-known geologist, a professor of mining at Harvard University. When someone asked ‘Abdu’l-Bahá for a story, Mrs. Parsons quickly suggested story of Ios, a pretty Persian tale with a moral. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá told the story to mild applause. Then, alert, and with eyes flashing, He turned to the host, saying: “NOW I will tell you a story and it isn’t going to be a sermon!” The Master, dressed in His usual flowing robes and white turban and, standing amidst the formally dressed Americans, proceeded to tell a riotous Arabian story that had His listeners shouting and swaying from side to side with amusement. In the midst of the applause He arose, bade goodbye to the assemblage, and left the room with the children of the family grasping His hands and cloak as they followed Him to the car. While we were driving home, speechless with happiness, He said with the simplicity of a child: “Now, are you pleased with me?”
(Earl Redman, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Their Midst, p. 165)


Evidently some of the Americans were bothered that the Persians for their normal clothing and requested that they change into attire to suit the circumstances of the time and place. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá responded by asking them ‘What harm is there in it? I do not care much about what is unimportant and what is not harmful to the cause. They are trifles.’
(Earl Redman, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Their Midst, p. 53)