To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children … to leave the world a better place… to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded. --- Ralph Waldo Emerson
A friend sent me this quote and it brought to mind, set me thinking, how do we talk to each other, think of each other, be. Patience, tenacity and a simple path to reaching people, accepting them as they are, brought the word decency to my mind almost immediately. Back in May of 2021 I wrote an article for the paper called ‘Why I Write What I Do’. I strive to introduce you to people through their positive ideas and accomplishments, through their stories.
Theirs are stories about individuals who have no hidden agendas, just the desire to serve. I want to share the wonders and talents of those who call Bryan County home.
As I observe the news, conversations or dictives, there seems to be little or no room to be willing to talk, to share, to show patience, tenacity or a simple path to reach each other, accepting each other as they are. I decided in this article I’d talk about a new way for me to introduce people to people, a different venue through which to achieve my goal.
I decided I’d bring a new way for me to introduce you to people, a new way to introduce people to people.
This article is not about politics, the news, left or right, your beliefs or philosophy or the pettiness that breaks us down. I believe, deeply, we are decent and communal minded. I want to talk about the simplest path to reaching each other, and being decent in all communication.
Conversation is what ties us all together. Conversation shapes connection. We all have a voice that should be heard, not anger, dislike, walking away. How sad, to miss the embrace.
Our enemies are being perceived, not as pandemics, volcanoes, earthquakes but each other.
The enemy is other humans. We seem to take the actions of a few rather than the decency of the vast majority as representative of human nature. Being decent is the baseline for all communication. We all have a voice. Instead of walking away, not talking, perhaps expressing anger, frustration or newly minted dislike, let’s listen not to change our beliefs but to hear the other.
The people I introduce you to in my articles don’t set out to be leaders, they set out to make a difference. So, I say to my readers your thoughts and opinions count but the interest in what the others in the conversation say matters as well. We need to question and learn from each other, not express anger due to our different beliefs, not pressing for change. Our opinions count but hearing from the other broadens our knowledge and friendships. We don’t have to agree to accept another’s viewpoint but we should hear their ‘why’ and leave the conversation with new understanding, not changing what one believes but expressing it well to allow conversation not quarrel.
Talk to understand the other person’s perspective. Agreement or change isn’t necessary but hearing allows us to grow in our attitudes. To hear from another allows us to grow by understanding the others feelings, a diversity of inclusion. Pettiness breaks us down. This attitude, recognition of another, helps make the turmoil and chaos around us become a way back home to human belonging and decency. In times like these the heroes I write about serve a purpose. What they do leads us to see a better way through their stories.
With the myriad of information hitting our psyche, reactions have gotten stronger and more divisive. How about accepting people for who they are and for who they are not?
Accepting people doesn’t mean approving of them, agreeing with them, downplaying their impact on you or waving your own thoughts and rights. How about just letting people be. This lets us accept the reality of the other person even though one may feel angry about it, sad, frustrated.
The goal, I believe, should be opening up to the fact we are different to give us peace, shifting to acceptance, not necessarily of the others ideas but by acceptance of the individual, understanding each other, practicing respect regardless of our differences.
Accept one as they are on their own merits. Get to know each other. Be a hero.
HERE’S TO OUR GROWTH AND SUCCESS, WE ARE RICHMOND HILL.
Georgene Brazer is chairman of the Downtown Development Authority of Richmond Hill. You can reach her at georgenebrazer@gmail. com