Soft Skills

People often reference Social Emotional Learning (Emotional Intelligence and Social Skills) as soft

I find this minimizing and disrespectful.

The so called soft skills are in effect the Essential skills of being a human being.

The Essential human skills have transformed humanity from prehistoric fight or flight beasts to the infinite possibilities of today.

The Essential skills have helped us survive every war and helped negotiate every peace.

The Essential skills helped humanity end slavery and apartheid.

The Essential skill help us care for the environment and each other.

These are the skills of Jesus, Buddha, St. Francis, Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr., and Mother Teresa.  

These are the Essential skills of forgiveness, gratitude, kindness, connection, courage, compassion, empathy, understanding, serenity, and love.

These are the Essential skills needed to be fully human.

Communication, Communion, Community and Unity

This past week I had the privilege to work with an old friend and 70 educators on the topic of communication.  The word communicate has its origin in the latin commun; meaning "common."  Ideally, when we communicate, we share our understanding of what we have in common.  The word communion shares the same origin.  In communion, we have a shared experience.  The word community also has its roots in the latin word commun.  Community contains the word unity.  Human evolution and human possibilities are reflected in each of these words.

We need to focus on what we have in common.  We need to seek understanding so we can find common ground.  We need to look for opportunities to experience communion.  I believe these actions and intentions will lead us to building community.  In this process, we will experience unity.

Our great ancestors survived because they cared for one another.  We are part of a great legacy of bonding together for survival.  Fear used to bring us together to stay safe in our caves with our clans.  Now fear creates hate which tears us apart.  There is no security in racism, sexism, bullying or harassment.  Security will never be formed in separation.  The only safe and sane responses to challenges of our time are Communication, Communion, Community and Unity.

"Community Unity Mural" - by F. Michelle Santos - Baltimore, MD


Disrupt the cycle of anger, hatred, and violence

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." - Martin Luther King Jr.

If we meet anger, hatred, and violence with a similar response than we are a part of the pain that this creates.  We need to listen with a sincere intention to understand.  This process of leaning into the unknown and seeking to understand will disrupt the intensity of discord.

I grew up in the 50's and 60's with a Father who taught me about equity and justice.  I listened as he acknowledged and affirmed my first mentor, my little league baseball coach. Mr. Bell was a African American man, who was a role model of citizenship, respect, trust, caring and responsibility. He was my first hero next to my Dad.  In a time of a segregated lunch counters, I listened and read as my Dad wrote an editorial in our local town newspaper about how he respected and cared for Mr. Bell and how happy he would be, if he could not be my father, that Mr. Bell would be the father he would have chosen for his son.

My father was a small part of the civil rights movement in my little town in New Jersey.  We can disrupt the cycle of racism, anger, hatred, and violence by letting our humanity come shining through.  We need to listen, speak and act with compassion, understanding, and love for all humanity.


"Today, it's all about WE."

"We live in a world where everything is connected.  We can no longer think in terms of us and them when it comes to the consequences of the way we live.  Today, it's all about WE." - Gregg Braden

We must take our essential learnings of connection, authenticity, courage and compassion and apply them in the world.  The world begins in our homes, neighborhoods, schools, work places, states and country.  Fear is the source of anger.  Fear and anger undermine the essence of being human.  There is no scenario where anger works to anyone's advantage.  In fear, anger and violence, we all lose.

The survival of our world and of our lives will not be found in fear, anger and hatred.  The loudest voice does not always win.  We need to recall our existence depended upon, and still depends upon, our ability to cooperate.  We need to connect.  We need to listen.  We need to understand.

We need to stop looking through the eyes of fear.  We need to stop our obsession with us versus them.  We are here together.  Billions of us on this round blue ball.  In my unconditional loving God there is a welcoming, accepting spirit.  We are all one with different expressions of God's exquisite uniqueness.  We can touch the world instantly.  We can show love by a look, a gesture, a smile, a handshake, a hug, a phone call, an email, a tweet, a snap and a text.  We can also show love by being quiet in prayer and meditation.  Breathe a message of love and change the world.