This week’s article is written with deep sadness. The question that so many are asking today, after the devastation in Las Vegas is “When will we ever learn?”
Words fall short.
Does calling the killer evil or insane make a real difference? There always seems to be the next evil, insane one.
The gun lobby says “Well, cars kill so should we ban cars?” We know cars and guns don’t kill. Yet, who is looking deeply enough at the core reasons people use cars and guns to kill.
Then there are those who say we are free to bear arms, no matter what.
Do you know that there is a larger group of people with guns in the United States (42%) than elsewhere in the world?
Is our way of life only about money and profits and greed?
Here’s where I’m going…. I think there is a crisis of meaning and values and that is what we are up against.
Leaders, listen up.
Here is one of the key questions for today. It’s a question that is begging for a dialogue.
We humans have developed consummate technological capability to do almost anything we can imagine wanting to do. How can we now develop corresponding ability to choose wisely what should be done and how we can support each other and the earth as we move forward.
How do we get past the yes, I am for or the no I am against?
That is such an old model.
Leaders, you can begin the dialogue at work. Start with your leadership team. Set up lunch and learn sessions to discuss the cost of short term objectives that ultimately induce long-term consequences.
Bring in some educators who will take your employees down the path of critical thinking.
It doesn’t matter if you sell shoes or underwear or if you provide services such as mortgages or seo support.
We are all smarter than we realize and when we begin to talk and gather together for the common good, wonders can happen. Is this just a simply, cotton-candy way of looking at the world? I sure hope not.
Here is another vital question.
How can we exercise needed societal control without sacrificing individual liberty?
My part of the puzzle is in relationships.
There are no INDIVIDUAL actions. All actions are inter-related.
Think of it this way. We are born from a relationship (those two-people called mother and father) through a relationship (called giving birth) into a relationship (called caretaking).
All work together. And they are all interactive.
So, let’s stop thinking about individual rights and start a deeper dialogue about relationship rights.
Our dominant materialistic world view and accompanying weakness of values and meaning has led to a very deep human concern — alienation. Most of us are alienated from nature and because of that we ignore the Earth’s life support system, our very survival.
Recent posts I’ve read are about loneliness at work, a place that has become increasingly devoid of meaning.
And at the core, we are alienated from each other and thus, from ourselves.
Leaders, start a discussion group at your organization. Maybe only one or two will show up initially. However, it the time is meaningful the word will spread and you will have employees asking for speakers and reading material.
Everything is connected, and no one wins unless we all do.
We all give into superstitions when the day becomes dark. We say things to make ourselves feel better. We really do create stories about good luck and bad luck. Much like the following:
Now, what I’m going to say is really not that big a deal. Except, it was a really big deal when it happened.
We put an offer on a house in Northern California, which I must say, is like the 1800’s land grab.
Nothing stays on the market very long and if something is super great, well, it is gone in days. Not only gone in days, but above the asking price. Bidding wars all over the place. It’s crazy.
Notice the house in the image to the left. That’s about what you get for the price. Kinda depressing!
Anyway, we found the perfect home. No, not the one above! I mean perfect. Out of town, in nature. Like Goldilocks, it was not too small, not too big. Just right.
It had been on the market for one day. We were first to see it the next day.
Did I say it was not too small, not too big, just right? So, we had to scurry to put a bid in. We were second. Then we waited.
Way back, almost 45 years ago, there was a record album (yes, that’s what we had back then) for kids. It was the brainchild of actress Marlo Thomas. A gift, so she thought, for her niece who was 4 years old and exploring what it meant to be a little girl.
Helping one person became a cultural phenomenon.
Marlo, frustrated because of all the gender specific books that had boys as pilots and girls as stewardesses, and so on, began the project of putting together songs that gave kids the novel idea they could be whatever they wanted.
Girls can grow up to be mommies and doctors; boys can play with dolls.
Children, at home and in school, were encouraged to think of themselves as unique and create their own amazing stories to tell.
How far have we come?
It’s better – yet, we still have a long way to go.
Every Father’s Day, I bet just about everyone thinks about their dad. Some with warm feelings, others with hurt and anger, others wondering who the man is, or where he is.
My story is a tough one to discuss; however, over the years, I’ve learned that talking is better than ignoring and stuffing things way down under.
You see, I killed my father.
It doesn’t seem to stop. I’m writing this after watching a video of young people at a concert in Manchester, England, run for their lives after a bomb explosion stopped the music.
I’m writing this after hearing the pain of a dad whose handsome son was knifed to death while waiting with friends near a bus stop on the University of Maryland campus. This was just days before his graduation from Bowie State University.
Then there is Danny, a coaching client, who told me he is still angry…no, furious, thinking about his brother, Neil, who was a victim of a stray bullet in the dusk of an evening not even a year ago.
And the eighteen-year-old girl at Times Square, whose last memory was most likely of a car careening onto the sidewalk and snuffing out her life.
This is a long list that seems to never end.
Funny story: I was working on getting my negative thinking under control and asked someone to help me. You see, it’s hard to do anything totally alone and I know the power of relationships can make a tremendous difference.
I found my power person to help and I found my power word.
I asked my dearest, best friend, who also happens to be my husband, to support me in this not-so-easy task of changing outdated behavior patterns. I asked him to simply say my power word whenever he caught me reverting to the victim behavior, that I must say, I really can get into sometimes.
I asked Herb to use my power word to remind me to stop my blaming, judging or attacking another and find a more positive way to handle my upset. I want to give up the “poor me” and “life’s not fair” attitude.
Now, I don’t go there often; however, I want to have this behind me totally.
I teach others to be better leaders and to stop whining and get going. Yet, there are times when my old survival responses seem to take over and I sound lame and ineffective.
Herb and I made the agreement. He would use my power word, and nothing more, when I would start up with a sob story.
So, one afternoon, someone who had promised to complete a project for me, called with tons of excuses. It was going to set me back several weeks and that meant promises I made to others would get caught in the back water.
I was pissed.
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Warning: Don’t overlook those seated before you.
The growing focus on Standing Rock Reservation and the issues surrounding water, oil, human rights, and earth rights brought up a memory from several years ago.
The morning after the sweat lodge we sat in a circle for our farewell ceremony. Bleary eyed in the predawn cold, something looked and felt different.
Was it just me?
I asked others who had joined our Leadership in Action program. The program was designed as a “pattern interrupt,” to leave, even briefly, from our daily ways of living and experience another cultural perspective.
The idea behind this type of adventure is to continue to move from the information age to the knowledge era. The more you know and understand systems thinking, how everything is connected, the better you can guide the direction of your life and make positive impact on those you lead. This trip was to learn new skills from Native American teachers and bring the indigenous wisdom back to the workplace.