The world seems to be in continuous upheaval. We have public arguments between world leaders, acting like egocentric children instead of mature adults. People are unsure whether to kneel or stand for a national anthem. Some people insist that there is no climate change in the face of some of the worst weather disasters ever recorded. And we don’t know who or what to believe anymore.
Indeed, we are living in very uncertain times.
Yet we’re also seeing some incredibly positive action. Public figures have raised millions of dollars to assist people whose lives have been devastated by deadly storms. We have a greater awareness of making a distinction between what is real and what is fake. People have started to talk and speak openly about sensitive issues and things that perhaps should have been discussed years ago.
In a recent interview about racism, a former professional football player commented, “it’s important to walk in my shoes and then you will truly understand what I have experienced in my life.”
My ears perked up at this remark for it reminded me of one of my workshops called “In a Family’s Shoes” whereby the participants get to experience the true to life impact of having a child diagnosed with a disability. A memorable moment was when someone jumped up and said “this is an epiphany, I thought I understood your life, but now that I have had a chance to experience and live through it, I realized that I didn’t know anything.” This was quite a powerful statement from someone who had worked in support services for over 20 years.
So what’s the point?
Dialogue, conversation and taking the time to understand one another to understand each other’s point of view. We all have a story to tell, an experience that has affected us emotionally, mentally, or physically. Sometimes difficult situations can pull people apart because of a misunderstanding or blame. Relationships can be broken and difficult to repair.
We now have an opportunity. The turmoil and turbulence has presented all of us with a chance to talk, to listen and sincerely understand one another. My sister-in-law once said to me, “you could explain things to me in the greatest of detail, but until I lived with you for a few days, I would never have understood what you go through every day and every night.”
Walk in my shoes. Listen. Learn. Take an interest. Support.
Can you imagine how many wars and battles could have been prevented if people would have taken the time to talk; to respond without anger and to act unselfishly?
This is our chance to come together, share ideas and focus on how we can support every fellow human being so that everyone has a chance to live a good life.
Together, we can change the world.