(Frey Freyday is simply a bunch of inspirational, motivational and other quotes meant to make you think, reflect, smile, even laugh a bit. Hopefully helpful, useful stuff….)
rec·on·cil·i·a·tion-[ˌrekənˌsilēˈāSH(ə)n]-NOUN-the restoration of friendly relations:
We are all one – or at least we should be – and it is our job, our duty, and our great challenge to fight the voices of division and seek the salve of reconciliation. Roy Barnes
The practice of peace and reconciliation is one of the most vital and artistic of human actions. Nhat Hanh
Reconciliation requires changes of heart and spirit, as well as social and economic change. It requires symbolic as well as practical action. Malcolm Fraser
WORD TO LIVE BY: Reconciliation – to allow, facilitate, encourage better discussions for the betterment of all.
We all have disagreements. We always will. We may get upset and angry with these differences in opinion, religion, and politics. But we need to remain civil enough and open-minded enough to discuss it without getting defensive, offensive or violent.
The question is how to look past anger, fear, and even violence to reconcile our differences.
In a world that seems more divided than ever, how do we begin to find middle ground?
First, we have to be able to talk and more importantly, listen.
I learned about a story about some smaller, simpler villages, perhaps even primitive villages, in Africa and how they handle conflict. Whenever tempers rise in those communities, someone goes and hides the poison arrows out in the bush, and then everyone sits around in a circle like this, and they sit and they talk and they talk. It may take two days, three days, four days, but they don’t rest until they find a resolution or better yet — a reconciliation. And if tempers are still too high, then they send someone off to visit some relatives, as a cooling-off period.
What if we “hid our poison arrows” – in our case our poison arrows can be the name calling, the rhetoric, labeling, judgements and even violence. What if we put these in a ‘place’ so that we couldn’t shoot the proverbial arrows, and that we just sat and listened and worked toward a solution rather than arguing?
A negotiator (and Ted speaker), William Wry, suggests this – a system that he calls “the third side.” Because if you think about it, normally when we think of conflict, when we describe it, there’s always two sides — it’s Arabs versus Israelis, labor versus management, husband versus wife, Republicans versus Democrats. But what we don’t often see is that there’s always a third side, and the third side of the conflict is us, it’s the surrounding community, it’s the friends, the allies, the family members, the neighbors. And we can play an incredibly constructive role.
Those of us not directly in the conflict or argument need to step up, lead and help bring perspective.
As Mr. Wry puts it, the third side can help is to remind the parties of what’s really at stake. For the sake of the kids, for the sake of the family, for the sake of the community, for the sake of the future, let’s stop fighting for a moment and start talking. Because, the thing is, when we’re involved in conflict, it’s very easy to lose perspective. It’s very easy to react. Human beings — we’re reaction machines. And as the saying goes, when angry, you will make the best speech you will ever regret.
The third side reminds us of that. “The third side helps us go to the balcony, which is a metaphor for a place of perspective, where we can keep our eyes on the prize,” as Mr. Wry stated in his TED Talk.
It is natural to fear things. It is natural to get those instinctual urges left over from evolution to become aggressive and defend our position just as we might have defended our families or our own lives generations ago. We all get angry, defensive. I do it. We react but then we need to be aware and interrupt the pattern. We need to raise our standards, we need to recognize the visceral urge and rise above it, act evolved. Lead, guide, help, assist, think, be kind.
War is easy. Peace is hard.
Elizabeth Lesser, an author, proposed an initiative in her book. We point the finger at others who disagree with us and group them as ‘the others.’ Ms. Lesser’s idea is here to help all of us, myself included, to counteract the tendency to “otherize”, as she puts it. She calls the initiative, “Take the Other to Lunch.” If you are a Republican, you can take a Democrat to lunch, or if you’re a Democrat, think of it as taking a Republican to lunch. Now if the idea of taking any of these people to lunch makes you lose your appetite, I suggest you start more local,because there is no shortage of the Other right in your own neighborhood. Maybe that person who worships at the mosque, or the church or the synagogue, down the street. Or someone from the other side of the abortion conflict. Or maybe your brother-in-law who feels differently about global warming. If there is someone whose lifestyle may frighten you, or whose point of view makes smoke come out of your ears…..take them to lunch or show them some genuine effort.
If we look at those who we disagree with and ask, “Why do they think that – where are they coming from” and if we try to understand them, it helps. We must also look at ourselves and honestly ask why we have our own opinions and realize where we’re coming from. This is essential as well.
Frey Freyday was actually born out of something I created called “Words To Live By” (WTLB). Going forward, I will now not only share the quotes, as you may be used to receiving, but also a related (WTLB). In 1999, when we had our first daughter, I was contemplating how I would raise my new beautiful child, and I was thinking about how I can best educate her and my other children about values, morals, and other key thoughts about life. School offers education. Religion offers some values and morals. Parents offer most of it, sometimes intentionally, sometimes accidentally.
So I created a (WTLB) book, like a dictionary, which lists things like honesty, love, persistence, etc. with a definition that I created, with my wife’s input. I then turned it into a workbook with one word per page and space below for notes. For years we would discuss with my two daughters and they would draw pictures and make notes in the blank space. I may share some of those images with you. As they got older, they were less inclined to draw and more open to quotes and references from adults, hence where Frey Freyday came from….
BONUS: TED TALK about RECONCILIATION