What is our personal, civic, cultural, moral or spiritual responsibility when it comes to publicly engaging with other human beings? Why it is to "Accentuate The Positive" of course.
What if anything should you do if the other person is different from you: a minor, an adult, a man, a women, gay, a senior citizen, transgender, a Hasidic Jew, a Muslim, or an Amish person? You should make them feel welcomed, safe, comfortable, and accepted as they are not as you wish for them to be.
Where did you learn how to conduct yourself in such encounters with others? Maybe you never did or seem to have somehow forgotten. Regardless, now more than ever, you need to become a person capable of teaching others to feel safe, loved, engaged, and uplifted.
What if the person is clearly disoriented, disabled, homeless, illiterate, threatening or violent? Do you know how to best handle the situation for yourself and with their best interests in mind? Potentially, your greatest gift to others is both your time and attention.
We encounter people from all walks of life everyday. Have you prepared yourself to respond to all others in a manner that reflects well on the community in which you are a resident, your families values, the school system that you passed through, the nation of which you are a citizen or the ethical teachings of your faith or religious belief system? According to John J. McGee, Ph.D., and Marge Brown, MS in their collaborative work, "A Gentle Teaching Primer which is based on a psychology of human interdependence, there is a way in which you can begin to use your presence as a tool:
- Enter the space where the person is at, not where you want the person to be
- Enter with humility and knowledge
- Avoid the provocation of any form of violence or any feeling of violence [or anger]
- Enter with faith and a burning hope that goodness begets goodness
- Synchronize your movements to those of the person
- Be relaxed with no fear
- Be calming and slow down
- Be supportive, compassionate and generous
- Express unconditional love
Is there ever a time in our lives when we are excused from thinking about or acting without forethought and common courtesy in response to varied human exchanges? The answer is no.
Can we comfortably say that we have done all that we can or all that we should to be more conscious, compassionate, gentle, kind, loving, responsive, tender and good when connecting with people, other living things or in our interactions with our ecosystems? Let us hope that is not the case. This is a clear case where more would be a good thing.
Maybe it is high time that we stop saying that we are one nation under God if, as it appears by all indications, we don't mean it, and have clearly forgotten altogether how to live accordingly.
A great nation would always be striving to maintain this objective as its number one priority and by its doing so that nation's core values would forever remain abundantly clear to everyone.