Promote the wisdom and importance of talking to your “enemies,” even in everyday life. Confront problems — at home, at work, in your community — with calm, rational, and respectful communication. Support politicians who do the same with foreign policy. France and Germany still mix like wine and sauerkraut, but they've learned that an eternity of agreeing to disagree beats an eternity of violent conflict.
Reach and preach beyond the choir. Don't hold back in places where progressive thinking may seem unwelcome. I was tempted to move to a church downtown that welcomed progressive thinkers, but chose instead to keep sharing a pew with a more conservative gang at my suburban church. Rather than change churches, I stayed and contributed — teaching poverty awareness workshops, sharing my travels at special events, and — after learning that many in our congregation are homophobic — even inviting the Seattle's Men's Chorus (America's largest gay chorus) to provide music one Sunday. While conservatives and liberals may see things differently, they care equally. I've found that, deep down, any thinking person wants to be challenged respectfully and thoughtfully. (That's why, rather than a new air-conditioning system for our chapel, we built a well in a thirsty Nicaraguan village instead.)
Take your broader outlook to work. Until we have "cost accounting" that honestly considers all costs, there is no real financial incentive for corporations to consider the environment, the fabric of our communities, the poor at home or abroad, or our future in their decisions. Executives are legally required to maximize profits, but with leadership and encouragement coming from their workforce, they are more likely to be good citizens as well as good businessmen. I encourage my employees to guard my travel company's ethics and stand up to me if I stray. And they do.
About This Entry
You are reading "Putting Your Global Perspective into Action at Home, Part 3", an entry posted on 03 May 2010 by Rick Steves.