The Christmas season is now upon us and in keeping with my Anglican traditions, the season will continue through 6 January when tradition has it that the Magi arrived at the stable in Bethlehem to present their gifts to the Christ child. Our thought has focused on the kindness and unconditional love shown by the Magi as they traveled far to reach that stable, with no thought of receiving anything in return for their gifts. In their hearts, they knew that the babe born in a stable was a special gift and that was enough for them.
What a great lesson from history for us to think about and to model. I see this modeled every time I see an act of kindness. People are kind because they believe that’s the right thing to do. Kind acts happen without the expectation of being repaid. But somehow, that kindness finds its way back to folks, especially when they least expect it. Our wish would be that the spirit of Christmas follow all of us throughout the coming year and we are moved to practice kindness with even greater frequency.
Merry Christmas, everyone, and Happy Holidays.
When Kindness and Respect Really Matter
Any time anyone is targeted for hate on social media and elsewhere, we all should realize that a hateful word is like throwing a pebble into a pool of water. There are ripple effects that none of us can begin to imagine but which can lead to a devastating act by the targets of that hate, leaving family and friends to grapple with a tremendous burden of grief that lasts a lifetime.
Case in point: One kind person who has been targeted for hate comments is Jennie Kim of the group, “Black Pink.” For those who’ve read our recent postings, you’ll recognize her name from our posting about the hatred that spewed forth because of her obvious struggle to deal with the panic of an apparently overwhelming crowd closing in on her, as seen in the published videos. I’ve since learned that she has been targeted with some of the crudest expressions of hate for quite some time.
What’s troubling is that I could find no effort by anyone associated with her management company to speak up on Jennie’s behalf. I think that a delayed response is useless. An ineffective delayed approach was showcased in the recent suicide death of a young Korean entertainer who had received hateful comments for more than a year. In a video published over the weekend of 19 October, the apparent response by Jennie’s management company appeared to treat her as a second class citizen, subject to different rules than the remaining members of Black Pink. She wasn’t allowed to ride in the same vehicle with the other members, allegedly for security reasons. But as seen in the video, managers controlled who she talked to and walked with into the airport. Whether intended or not, YG Entertainment’s response validates the words of the haters. Bad optics…..
Other management companies in Korea have started tracking down offenders and bringing legal action against them. Let’s all hope that these actions are soon taken globally and the hate seen on social media becomes a thing of the past. Now is the time for YG Entertainment to proactively protect their entertainers. To do anything less will signify YG’s agreement with the comments.
Jennie has refused to respond to the haters. She has gone about her work and behind the scenes acts of kindness with her head held high. From my vantage point, this very kind young person merits my respect. As a leader within my community and profession, I can learn a lot from Jennie’s situation and how best to help anyone who might become targets of hate on social media. They deserve the very best I can do for them to protect them and pursue appropriate legal action against anyone who targets them for hate and malicious comments. Those people I will be protecting will have no doubt that I hold each of them in very high regard.
I read an Internet article yesterday about the death of a former K-pop singer, Sulli. My first thought was of her family and friends and the devastating sense of loss they must be feeling. I wondered how such a talented young woman would come to think that the only solution to her mental anguish was to apparently take her own life. How is it in today’s world, where we are supposedly so interconnected through social media, that a young person would come to feel so isolated and alone? It appears to me that far too many people, young and old alike, come to believe that the ultimate solution to their pain becomes their only option. We, as a society and global community, are diminished by that decision. How can we turn this around?
For one thing, we need to have meaningful conversations with one another. That means that the cell phones are put down and face to face conversations take place. We need to be engaged with one another in discussing the things that matter most in our lives. Old fashioned eye to eye conversation is needed in order to make that human connection that will mean so much to those involved.
Next, as a society and global community, we need to reassess our priorities. Today’s technological world has the advantage of social media, but that advantage also carries some significant consequences. Social media can and often does create an unrealistic standard of what we should look like, what to wear, what to eat, who we should follow, etc., etc. What’s missing in that approach? I think what’s missing is the realization that each of us is unique and individual. Because of the anonymity of the Internet, some folks believe that gives them license to point out other people’s imperfections, often in demeaning terms. Instead of insulting one another over real or perceived imperfections, why aren’t we celebrating the fact that despite our individual differences, we humans have the heart and mind to come together as a family, group of friends, neighbors, colleagues, etc. That coming together to solve common problems is, in my assessment, the avenue we must use in order to stop the sense of isolation which can lead some to believe that the world is better off without them. Trust me, we aren’t.
Forget the calendar, forget the groundhog – it’s the start of spring training with the reporting of pitchers and catchers, followed by the other players that really signals the beginning of spring. Of course, here in the desert southwest, we got another dose of winter with overnight temps in the mid to upper 30s this week. For those going through the polar vortex cold and snowy winter, that doesn’t sound so bad. But temps that low with a humidity level in the 10% range have a way of biting right through all the layers and settling directly into your bones. We’ll warm up soon enough and before we know it, the triple digit days will be upon us. But with the start of spring comes a sense of a new beginning. Spring is a reminder that we have come through a period of short, dark days usually accompanied by cold, ice, and snow.
Seeing the desert wildflowers bloom, much like watching the flowers in any part of the country come to life, reminds us that hope always springs eternal. If all those daffodils can weather the multiple feet of snow and ice and with the first hint of the spring warmth, poke their heads through all that cold and bring a smile to our faces with their bright whites and yellows, can we do less? Let’s strive to put the winter dark and cold behind us and move forward into the spring sunshine and warmth. You won’t hear a single word of complaint from me when the streak of triple digit highs comes to spend the summer!
With the new year, we have an opportunity for a fresh start on any number of things – improving things within our organization, starting a new fitness plan, taking up a new hobby or refining one (shooting my age in golf is a dream), learning a new skill, etc.
As leaders within our organizations, we have an opportunity to ensure that all of the tools needed by our staff are now available. We can also, as an organization, provide help and support to any number of worthwhile victim advocacy agencies within our communities.
As members of our community, we can renew our efforts to make a positive change in the lives of children who are or have been in abusive or difficult situations. One thing that we can focus on is learning about the needs of organizations which help families which provide foster care or adopt these children.
Many of these organizations are nonprofit groups which provide a number of services such as counseling to all victims as well families, and providing information about available resources. Some of these organizations exist to increase public awareness and to provide education and training for other support groups, as well as members of the community. Victim advocates provide an important service of insuring that the needs of any victim are appropriately addressed in a timely manner. Advocates provide vital support to victims if a criminal prosecution occurs. These advocates stand by the victims throughout the entire process.
It is important for these agencies to know that they have the support of the surrounding community as they provide these vital services. So what can we do?
We can learn about what agencies and groups are available within our own communities. We can volunteer services or talents that we may have to help these agencies achieve their mission. We can help broadcast their important information to other members within our community. If we can seize this opportunity in this new year, we can make a positive difference in the lives of victims, especially the children.
When kindness and respect become second nature, we can experience an inner peace that brings a remarkable degree of tranquility and serenity to us. I truly believe that when such tranquility and serenity are in full force, we can bring peace into our lives and into the lives of others. This can be one of the greatest gifts that we can ever give.
When peace dominates our lives, we can see in better focus the true meaning that others bring to us. This enhances the love that we feel for our family and friends. This love that we experience is so readily shared with others and quite honestly, is something that is very difficult to describe at times. We just know that things are so much better and our lives are so much richer because of the love that we share with others based upon kindness and respect.
The peace and love which we derive from being kind and respectful not only enhances the love we share with family and friends, but it also results in a sense of joy that, like the love we experience, is so very difficult to describe. It is not, however, difficult to share.
In this Christmas season, I truly wonder how great the peace would be, how rich the love would be, and how great the joy would be if kindness and respect were the foundation for all of our behavior. I can think of no greater joy than a life lived in peace, and enriched by the love of family and friends. I wish all of you the best of a joyous Christmas season, and a kind and respectful New Year.
Respect (noun) – having a high regard for someone or something or having an admiration for another based upon their achievements, abilities, or personal qualities.
I think we can all agree that it appears that the concept of respect has become lost in the sauce. Respect means that we hold someone in high regard. Like kindness, respect is given with no strings attached. We are simply expressing our admiration for an individual, group, organization, etc. This admiration is based most often upon positive qualities.
I respect Christina Kim of the LPGA. Her professional career is not the stellar career of other professionals on the tour, but I hold her in very high regard because of her courage in dealing with a mental health issue that significantly impacted her professional golfing skills. She hid her pain of severe depression through humor and comedic antics on the course. I especially admire her courage in going public with her issue. And with karma being what it is, shortly after opening up to others about her issue, Christina earned a much deserved LPGA tour win.
I respect the thousands of victim advocates who work tirelessly on behalf of individuals who have become victims of criminal behavior. The professionalism and passion that these individuals show on a daily basis cannot be imagined until you see these individuals come together in a national symposium to recharge their batteries (so to speak), learn from one another, and constantly seek new and better ways to assist victims. It is through their dedication that victims understand and appreciate that they are valued as individuals.
I often wonder how much better our society would be if we all lowered the decibel level and showed more respect. In any disagreement, there is never an invitation to be disrespectful, hateful, or mean-spirited. There is nothing about the concept of respect that requires us to give it blindly. Simply stated, respect must be earned and once given to an individual, that individual must continue to uphold the same standards that earned our respect in the first place.