Keeping the “All” in “Merry Christmas to all.”

These are the notes from our Servant-Leader roundtable gathering of Thursday, December 22.  These notes are a compilation of the wisdom in the room, Jim Kerlin’s notes, and my own notes.

Topic for the day:  Keeping the “all” in “Merry Christmas to all.”

  • We routinely say “Merry Christmas to all” even though approximately 30% of Americans either have no religious affiliation or are not Christian.
  • The Declaration of Independence states, “Freedom and justice for all” even though “all”” didn’t refer to everyone at the time.  There continues to be on-going debate regarding what is meant by “equal justice for all.”
  • In both cases, these words are most often shared as statements of goodwill, unity, and shared values.
  • As ethical leaders we are called to be both a source of unity and to respect the diversity that naturally exists within any group of two or more.

How do we work as a servant leader with people who don’t share the same viewpoint

  • As a young man, Earl grew up within walking distance of a Baptist church, Muslim temple, Jewish synagogue, Pentecostal church, etc.  One day Mom gathered the children around a tree and pointed out that, just like their different view of the same tree, people can have different views of the same God.
  • A key element of the Franciscan world view is respect for all of God’s creation.
  • People talk about Justice but what they are often talking about is “just us.”
  • Emma Lazarus is cited as having said: “Until we are all free, we are none of us free.”  People are free to believe what they want, even if their point of view is different than
    Ours, so long as it does not interfere with the freedoms of others.

How do we navigate the transition to accepting people for being different than ourselves?

  • When our views differ from those of others, there appears to be a consistent tendency to characterize those differences as extreme from our own.  As leaders we need to be aware of how we are interpreting what others say to us and how our words are likely to be interpreted by others.
  • Capitalizing and italicizing the word “ALL” when describing the individuals we are referring to in our communication is a strong reminder that “all” does not mean “some.”
  • All people need someone who cares about them.  There is a whole lot more about the person than one characteristic or another.  There is a whole person here.  How we use this knowledge is an indicator of who we are as people and how we can serve better.
  • We don’t have to like ALL, but we should love ALL.
  • We can start by asking about what we share and then just listen.
  • Our forefathers were geniuses.  Because we do differ, because we have the freedom to differ, is what makes our great republic work.  Embrace the differences.

This was the last gathering of the year and last gathering of the 6th year of the roundtables. 

Copyright 2016 Dan Lococo.  All rights reserved.

Author: Dan Lococo, PhD

I am a whole person called to engage with others as they realize their own wholeness. Service is the act of engaging with others on their journey to realizing their own wholeness. (December, 2013)

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