I continue to observe our behaviors as human beings through learning and understanding how people develop over time, or in some cases, don’t. I have looked at how we think, what motivates us, how we acquire our values and beliefs and why we do what we do. I worked in schools, universities and hospitals. I learned about organizational development and how systems worked. I studied culture, context and collaboration and used all of that in my work over a long period of time.
If we are to survive, we must learn how to build collaborative energy, how to listen carefully to what is and what is not being said, how to ask questions that are penetrating and honest, how to discern the real from the superficial, and how to help people move forward with a purposeful, shared vision. Just think of that in terms of months and months of recent political palavering. There has been more acrimony and divisiveness than I can remember personally at any time in the past 75+ years.
“What seven decades of learning taught me to understand and to appreciate, to celebrate and enjoy, and to use most readily in my work is really one simple thing. Help others do their best work, help them learn more about who they are and how they can pursue their passions and get closer to their dreams of what can be. It is about becoming, that we are always in process of becoming more of a human being, not a human doing. It means developing and growing our humanity, our human spirit and being in touch and in tune with the natural world such that we not only know who we are and what we’re about but that we place the highest premium on the sacredness of every person, starting with ourselves.” https://www.amazon.com/Seven-Decades-Gary-Gruber-Ph-D/dp/0615811558
We can learn the benefits of supporting each other, how to give what others need. I see beggars on the street asking for money. If the real need is for food or clothing or shelter, then let’s give food, clothes and shelter, not just money. The needs of the world are overwhelming but we can begin with each person we meet along the way.
I watched the story of Sesame Street and the International Rescue Committee, recipients of a MacArthur 100 million dollar grant to work with Syrian refugees, especially the children. What a great partnership! Have a look here:
https://www.cbsnews.com/video/sesame-street-international-rescue-committee-help-syria-refugee-children-60-minutes-2020-10-11/ That is noble and awesome work on a large scale.
Here are the six finalists for the next 100 million dollar grant to tackle a pressing problem:
Clinton Health Access Initiative & Murdoch Children’s Research Institute
Bringing life-saving oxygen therapy to children worldwide
Accelerating an end to homelessness in 75 U.S. communities in five years
National Geographic Pristine Seas
Safeguarding and restoring the ocean’s health and productivity
Democratizing life-saving medical knowledge and care
Report for America
Eliminating American news deserts
World Mosquito Program
Protecting communities by preventing transmission of mosquito-borne disease
We may not be involved in such projects on a large scale but think of the people with whom we interact every day and answer this question. How can we contribute to making another person’s life or work more meaningful and more productive? It may be something very simple and it is our gift to give to make another’s day or life better, more rewarding and fulfilling. That has enormous benefits for them, for us and for the world around us wherever we live.
I remember an outstanding teacher from Mississippi who wore a pin that said, “I am changing the world, one student at a time.” That spoke volumes about who she was, what her values and commitments were and how she had worked for decades helping to make the world better. So now, the question belongs to us, “What are we doing to help make the world a better place?”