Sunday

Take Action Now. Be Kind.

 "I cannot do everything, but I still can do something.
I will not refuse to do something I can do." 
- Helen Keller

Every day I can focus on the good I can do. I can smile, say hello, have a positive attitude, be generous, and be of service. Every time we take positive action for the good of humankind, the world is enhanced.

Everyone of us, in our own unique way, can take actions that make the world a better place. We do not need to be famous, wealthy, or powerful. We only need to be kind.

Our kindness will have an impact. People will feel better in our presence. We will live in a beautifully diverse and multicultural world. Our kindness will help create a world where everyone feels accepted and cared for.

Take action now. Be kind.



Skills to help us through the pandemic and beyond

Reach out to, spend time with and hold those you love.  If you can not hold them because of COVID-19 then look them in the eyes, be deliberate, go slow and say "I love you".  Spend time connecting and being explicit about what you love in them.  Do not let a day go by without loving.

When you have the ability to be with someone in person or virtually give them your full attention.  Listen without interruption. Turn off the phone.  Turn off all other media and outside stimuli.  Be present.

Give yourself time to focus on your own health and well-being.  Appreciate the sunlight in the morning.  Get up and be thankful.  Review everything and everyone you are grateful for having in your life.  Take nothing and no one for granted.  Stretch, do yoga, meditate, pray, walk, run, swim, say hello from 6 feet away.  Learn to like yourself.  Be in nature and express creativity.

Be of service, somehow to someone.  If there are elderly in your neighborhood, take out their trash, cut their lawn, trim their trees.  Help others and allow others to help you.  Renew your sense of purpose and make a contribution.



A Global Family

The earth is populated with an exquisite diversity. Every life is precious and adds to the greater whole. We are all children of God. We are all relatives in a global family. We must ask ourselves how are we treating our family.

I have family members that live with disabilities and lifelong challenges. I have family members who are heartbroken and grieving loss. I have family members who are genius and unique and creative. I am part of a family that makes mistakes and tries to do and be better.

My ancestors have survived wars, holocaust, slavery, pandemics, and mental illness. My people make music, sing, dance, write poetry, and make beautiful art.  My family has lived in different parts of this world and teach me what is sacred in other cultures and faiths. My family comforts me when I am sad and inspires me to dream great dreams. 

There are no strangers in my family. Everyone is welcome, you are my family.




We are all unique creations

 "If you had an enemy, and knew his heartaches and his anxieties, you would be disarmed of your hostility and claim him as a brother." - Longfellow

We were born in different places, in different families, and different cultures.  We learned different languages, different faiths, and different traditions.  

Where we were born and what we learned were our reality.  But our reality is only one reality. There are vast numbers of other realities, other cultures, other faiths, other languages, other families. These other realities have as much value and sacredness as your reality. They do not need to be you and you do not need to be them. We are all unique creations of Divinity.

We are all here to live in compassion and understanding.



Thoughts, Beliefs, Actions

 "When any real progress is made, we unlearn and learned anew what we thought we knew before."

- Henry David Thoreau

Everything begins with a thought. Where we are today, individually and as a nation, began with our thought process. Thoughts create beliefs and beliefs create actions.

It is time for a new thought. It is time for a belief in humanity. It is time to act with kindness, hope, empathy, and compassion. We must unlearn prejudice, fear, and hatred. We can see, think, dream, and create a better world.

Every thought, every belief, every action we take, ripples out and impacts the world. We must rethink and create loving responses to poverty, racism, sexism, homelessness, climate change, and healthcare.

We have an opportunity NOW!

Individual thoughts, beliefs, and actions, inspire national and global change.

I take responsibility for my thoughts, beliefs, and actions.


It's in every one of us to be kind

Our nature is unity. In prehistoric times we banded together for survival. Now we must evolve from survival consciousness to thriving consciousness. Unity is our only hope to thrive.

We must treat everyone with respect and equality. We must work for unity in all neighborhoods, workplaces, schools, and houses of worship. We must stop creating false, man-made, unnatural hierarchies of power. We must support all children and families.

Every human being is a unique expression of God. Please help to break down the walls of racism, sexism, hatred, and violence. Please help to build bridges so that every age, every culture, every gender, every group, and every individual can live in peace.

It's in every one of us to be kind.



Creating Unity

We all have the same origin. We all begin our evolutionary journey as human beings in an area of East Africa. Climate and conditions changed us on the outside, but inside we are the same. We are the same genetically.

"The concept of race has no genetic or scientific basis." – Craig Venter, Human Genome researcher

Every human being is an expression of the Divine. We are all one with spirit. We are all one with God. I will never argue or debate about the name you use for God. There are hundreds of names for God. I want to evolve past the hostility for what we call God. I want to evolve to the place that we all, call God.

I want to evolve to the place where we all seek to create unity.

Our diversity is an opportunity to join in beautiful harmony. The love of the universe is our ultimate song.

"While I know myself as a creation of God, I am also obligated to realize and remember that everyone else and everything else are also God's creation." - Maya Angelou

Love or Fear

We, as a people, are living our chapter in an ancient story.  A story of love or fear.  Those who fear, seek power and domination.  They have destroyed the environment and are so narcissistic they would destroy their fellow humans.  Those who fear are spiritually bankrupt.  They lack compassion and empathy.  They are so afraid, they gorge themselves on the noise of hatred, racism, sexism, and violence.

Those who love, seek to join, connect and build relationships.  Those who love build wholeness, community, and unity.  They know they carry the seed of unconditional loving spirit, and they plant the sacred spiritual seed wherever they walk the earth.  As the world heals and blossoms, there will be a renaissance of love.

We have all, at sometime, been both love and fear.  

We must now reflect on our next choice.

Who am I, love or fear?

Choose one.




Community

The economy should never take precedence over valuing and nurturing human life. Every human life. This is a core issue today. Without the health, safety, and well-being of humanity there will be no economy. We must remember and reclaim that we are the economy. Not the elite 1%. We, the every day people of the 99%. We the “essential workers” who support life. For most of us there will be no bonus or bail out.

We have to be courageous. We have to live our lives based on core values. Values of caring, respect, compassion, and integrity. The financial bottom line must always be subservient to these essential core values. When we allow ourselves to make governmental and economic decisions based on caring, respect, compassion, and integrity, the economy will thrive.

Greed has created fake leaders who are narcissistic, abusive, and strive for domination. The bottom line has oppressed and dominated the larger population. We have been sold a lie that our security lies in having more than someone else. This lie has almost destroyed community.

Community is the answer in this pandemic.

“In and through community lies the salvation of the world.“ - M. Scott Peck

In community individuals come together, we depend on each other. We share with each other. We communicate with caring, kindness, and honesty. We commit to each other. We rejoice together and we grieve together. We support each other. We trust each other.

“Trust is the heartbeat of genuine love”- bell hooks

In community we are open and courageous. We want to know and be known. We recognize and affirm each other’s value. We acknowledge each other‘s presence and make connection. Being kind connects us.

The ultimate goal of community is “to seek ways in which to live with ourselves and others in love and peace” - M. Scott Peck

Human Connection

My 

Why

Some people ask me why am I still working, full time, at 68 years of age.  Why?  Because I was raised with a work ethic that taught me to contribute to the greater good.  I saw my father work 3 jobs into his 60's, always thinking of his family and contributing to his community.  I saw my mom teach kindergarten for 37 years.  Always loving every child she had in class.  I was always taught to make a contribution to something and someone greater than me.  I was taught to try and create something of value that would last long past my life.  

I believe good caring leaders always think about generations after themselves.  I have never seen myself as a good business man.  I have always wanted to be a good man who wanted to leave a legacy.  I have always found my passion in education and human services.  I have been driven to make schools as human and caring as possible.  I have never thought of those that worked with me as employees.  I think of all those that work with me as family.  It has been a blessing to watch our family grow and see the beautiful service they all are giving to the world. 

My clear vision for the past 20 years has been to have every K-12 school be a fully integrated Social Emotional Learning and academic environment.  At 68 years of age and 47 years as a professional educator, I am aware I may not see my dream as a reality so I take solace in every day of progress I can contribute to building.  I am inspired every day I work with fellow educators.  Their passion, love, and commitment ignites my spirit to continue to serve.  I am aware that every good we do in schools benefits multiple generations.  Our work is personal and it must be personal.  Our personal work is authentic, transparent, vulnerable, and full of integrity.

We must create schools where everyone can do their best.  Whatever unique form of their best might be.

Creating success for all while being authentic, transparent and vulnerable demands integrity.  Integrity is built on trust.

"Trust is the stacking and layering of small moments and reciprocal vulnerability over time." - Brene Brown

"Trust and vulnerability grow together and to betray one, is to destroy both." - Brene Brown

I am aware that all of our work is dependent upon and built upon trusting relationships.  It is only with trusting relationships that we can do the heavy lifting of leaving a legacy of Social Emotional Learning for many generations.

Courage

"Our shared humanity is strong and vast enough to encompass our beautiful diversity. 
Think of yourself as a bridge extending forward so that others might walk across." 
- Jacqueline Novogratz

It takes courage to build bridges. When we build bridges, we encourage others to believe in themselves. To encourage someone is a great gift. It is the gift that says "I believe in you."

"Courage is not the absence of fear. 
Courage is the ability to look fear in the face and continue to walk forward."  
- Jacqueline Novogratz

We must find the courage to speak our truth. The courage to speak our truth is born in our core values, our authenticity, our transparency, and our integrity.

Change requires courage.

"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror'. 
I can take the next thing that comes along. 

You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
- Eleanor Roosevelt


Listen

"When we dare to meet another as a friend, willing to hear painful and uncomfortable truths, we can discover the parts of our identities that overlap. We can acknowledge the other person's- and our own- yearning to be seen. True listening is more than an act of hearing another's words. 
It is the unspoken recognition of our shared humanity." - Jacqueline Novogratz

Now is the time for listening. Leaders, true leaders, must listen. Listen to the generations of pain, hatred, prejudice, and racism. We need leaders who will listen with empathy and compassion. Those who claim to be leaders because they are loud, vulgar, abusive, and can post, tweet, and comment faster than I can write, are not leaders.

Leaders are women and men who have been challenged, they have suffered, they have worked hard, they have been betrayed, disenfranchised, and persecuted. Leaders know failure, loss, and broken trust, and they still show up. They show up open minded and open hearted. Their character shines with integrity, compassion, empathy, understanding, perspective, respect for all, and a deep sense of responsibility.

They will listen to the broken hearts and bodies of those they serve because they too, have been broken. They will listen until everyone has a chance to speak.

Listening, in and of itself, is healing. 

"Listen… to change yourself, spark your moral imagination, soften your hardened edges, 
and open yourself to the world. When we fail to listen to those the world excludes, we lose the possibility of solving problems that matter most to all of us. 
But when we succeed at listening with all our attention and empathy, we have a chance to set others and ourselves free." - Jacqueline Novogratz


How do I put empathy for you into action? How can I be compassionate today?

"Moral imagination means to view other peoples problems as if they were your own, 
and to begin to discern how to tackle those problems." - Jacqueline Novogratz

"Moral imagination starts with empathy, but it does not content itself simply to feel another's pain. Empathy without action risks reinforcing the status quo." - Jacqueline Novogratz

I have made a lifetime of studying empathy and feeling that I am an empathetic person. I now move from empathy to compassion. My dear friend, Krista Leh, has taught me that compassion is empathy in action. The question that I work to answer each day is; "How do I put my empathy for you into action? How can I be compassionate today?" 

I can be compassionate by studying the truth from all perspectives, standing up for and speaking for justice and respect for everyone, making ethical and moral decisions, pointing out our common humanity, offering opportunities, and showing dignity and love for all.



Service to others

Our nation is dangerously divided. Inequality and prejudice poor from our streets and neighborhoods to our highest national offices. We are all part of "One nation under God".  For our nation to be "indivisible with liberty and justice for all", we must remember our shared humanity. We are each connected in the web of life. Ultimately, what we do to another, we do to ourselves. No one is free until everyone is free.

We must focus on individual and common dignity. We must make our lives a service to others. We are in need of caring, compassionate, courageous, and empathetic leaders. Leaders who believe they are here to serve. We need men and women of character. Character that was built over years of commitment to dreams that were bigger than themselves. Character that was built on ethics, morality, common decency and truth. Character and servant leadership are not some idealistic dream. 

We must be prepared to commit our lives to service. We will find the joy in helping others find their passion. Our joy will come in the good we have offered, the ideas that have created physical and emotional safety for all, in the lives which we have helped transform.

Our health and well-being will be present in the people we have loved, in the children we have helped grow, and in the communities we have improved.