A Holiday of Hope

I find myself still staying away from election news, since I can’t understand any of it.  But I was forced to take my head out of the sand.  I run Communications for a non-profit senior women’s organization, and I was asked if we’re going to address this strange election-what it means for women, how to address the fear many of the members’ company employees are expressing, how to communicate what some women are doing to mobilize their communities.

The thing is, our women span the globe, and span political ideologies too. Anytime you volunteer for a membership-based organization, your mission is to serve all members. So what to do?  I penned a letter for the Chair of our organization in trying to keep that in mind. And in doing that, it occurred to me that regardless of what side of the argument you’re on, there are things we can all do, but they may require a little attitude shift.

  1. Choose Hope.  Think about the greats who gave us hope-Lincoln, JFK, Madela, Ghandi.  In the toughest times they chose hope and marshaled countless people toward a common purpose.  Make that common purpose unity, and healing.
  2. Begin with Respect.  This is going to test your mettle, but just try–one person at a time.  The thing is, we don’t know the backstory to most people. There’s a tale Covey tells in Seven Habits of Highly Effective People about a dad with two little kids riding a subway, and he’s letting them run riot in all the cars.  Finally a guy is watching all this and he’s had enough, and he asks the dad to get control over his kids!  The father looks up, lost, and apologizes, explains they’d all just come from the hospital where his wife had passed away. You don’t know the backstory to why most others behave or believe the way      they do.  Begin with respect.
  3. Help others, especially women.  I’d like to believe things are getting better (See #1) but our progress is so very slow.  If you’re in a position to do it, give women who are coming behind you your time, and your guidance.  I love women!  We’re lifelong learners, we’re passionate. We’re unifiers.  Stretch out your hand to a woman today.
  4. Follow in Gwen’s footsteps. Gwen Ifill, legendary broadcaster and hero to so many, died a couple of weeks ago, and this was her credo: “I try to bring light, not heat, to issues.”  We could all use this advice, especially as the holidays are upon us.  Family will come together, and political discussions may get inflamed.  Try to be the one who sheds light on the debate, not heat. Be the teacher, not the preacher.  

I wish you all a beautiful holiday season, and a 2017 filled with hope.

Fondly,