Recently we have been inundated with distressing news globally about more gun shootings and more killings. I cannot shake the feeling of sadness at the wrathful slaughter of the innocent lives that took place in Pittsburgh, last week. People will always see things from their own perspective and often disagree, but what surprises me is that we can be so angry with people whose religious beliefs are different from ours and have done nothing to inflict harm on us personally. What is it that pushes us to move from disagreeing and presenting alternative views to shooting people that are praying and searching for meaning in life?
I am in the business of culture transformation. My journey started more than 30 years ago with the premature birth of my second child who remains severely disabled. I have experienced how many people do not recognize that he, too, has hopes and dreams although unable to clearly express them. He, too, can teach all of us about life lessons. Yet, because he does not read, write and carry on “deep” conversations, many people question his “usefulness” in society. However, he can teach us how to treat others with compassion. Like the two brothers with special needs whose lives were cut prematurely on October 27, 2018, he often attends services in a house of worship. This is the one place, where he is an equal and can thrive as such. Due to his blindness, he is an auditory learner. He loves the calmness of the service and the prayers that sound song-like to him. In that setting, people always come up to him, greet him and treat him as he is, just another congregant looking for meaning in his life. It is the one setting where he is truly equal, included, and able to fully participate. No one there is judging him or thinking they are better than he.
This acceptance of others, especially when “different” does not occur frequently.
We need a Culture transformation.
- To connect with others. Each time we reach out to another we help them to feel less isolated and frustrated.
- To align with others. Each time we actively listen to another person’s thoughts, ideas, and beliefs we are closer to understanding his perspective and collaborating.
How do we begin the Culture transformation?
- We reach out to others with curiosity.
- We paraphrase what we think we heard to make sure we heard them correctly.
- We listen to each other with openness.
- We check where each of us agree and where we do not.
- We move forward in an open and caring way to see how we can align. There is nothing to gain by us being totally right and them being totally wrong except creating resistance and anger.
- We must remember, everyone is right, partially. That means, everyone including us is wrong, partially.
Our challenge is to stop judging others wrong and be responsible for our own thoughts and behaviors.
Pray with me:
May they not die in vain.
May we find peace, healing and comfort.
May we all find strength, protection and courage to continue life.
May we end the sorrow that prevails and foster joy.
May we vow to make this world a better place than we find it and pursue dreams and hopes.
May our tomorrows and that of our children be filled with good, where all are embraced with comfort and can fulfill their life purposes.
Treating each unique individual with dignity respect, inclusion and love is where we all should strive or we ourselves cannot expect to receive that. Building relationships through connection and our bonds of similarities rather than focusing on our differences is a much better space for all of us to be in. It paves the way for us to stamp out hatred and bigotry. When we take time to know each other, even if we do not agree, we are much more able to align and get along and care for each other, even those whose beliefs are different from ours. Respectful conversation with transparent and honest language is much more impactful than language that exaggerates, stirs up, and slanders others. Let’s stop pointing the fingers at others and each do our part to speak honestly, empathically, inclusively, and supportively. We all need a world that is more tolerant and it starts with each of us. Bonds of compassion for each other pave a brighter tomorrow. When values and morals stand for evil they incite and we all lose. It has no place in any community. Globally united and collaborating we all prosper.