Thursday, May 12, 2016

How far can finger-pointing and bad-mouthing take you?



Catholics are taught at an early age that someone is always watching you.  As a child, I didn't think of this as surveillance (not a term that the Baltimore Catechism is familiar with), but rather as being benignly supported in my efforts to be a good person.

On the irreligious side, I learned early about being a good citizen and helping others -- to "put myself in their shoes," as my mother would say.  This behavior seemed to square up with my heroes, Nancy Drew the Hardy Brothers, and with the principles taught by the Brownies and (later) Girl Scouts.
I had no sense of limitations or boundaries growing up.  I was there to grow into myself.

I've tried hard in my career to explain to colleagues and to shadowers that 1) honesty is the best policy because it's most efficient; 2) that "Every wall is a door" (Ralph Waldo Emerson); 3) that harboring resentments or engaging in finger-pointing hurts you most of all because it sucks your attention and focus into proving your hypothesis; and 4) that there is always something to learn from another, especially if you can put yourself in her/his shoes.

There's not enough time left on my runway to spend my energy negatively.  Observing the current state of politics is enough of a time sucker.  I'll spend my time working to change the world, one project (or one class) at a time.

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