LEADING BY EXAMPLE
Why do we have rules in our households, laws in the country, and referees in sports? Because sometimes people need to be told to do the right thing and held responsible for doing the wrong thing. But where do these rules leave us when the actions are just expression of thoughts and beliefs? Let me elaborate…
In our households, we may have rules like clean up after yourself or don’t look at someone else’s phone. These rules help keep the peace. Cleaning up after yourself means that someone else does not have to take care of your mess. Not looking at someone else’s cell phone means the other person does not have to worry about his/her privacy being violated. But why do these need to be rules? Because when we act upon our own interests regardless of how it affects others, this creates problems. Billy doesn’t put his dishes in the dishwasher after dinner because he would rather go do something else – someone else will clean it up anyway. Billy does not consider that someone else does not get to do what she wants because she is busy cleaning up after Billy. Suzy looks at Billy’s phone because she is curious who he is texting, not considering that Billy is texting to keep his conversation private. To Suzy, her curiosity is more important than Billy’s right to privacy. When we do not consider how our actions affect others, rules need to be put in place to keep the peace.
In our country, laws are put in place to protect the public from reckless or menacing individuals. Grace is driving through a school zone where children are crossing the street. She does not slow down because she is late for an appointment. Grace is more concerned about her tardiness than she is for the safety of the children walking home from school. So, signs are put in the middle of the road posting a lower speed limit and a police officer monitors the corner for people speeding through. Leonard goes into a convenience store to buy a few things. He realizes he is short on cash. Leonard decides to put a candy bar in his pocket and take it without paying. He figures that he is paying for everything except this one candy bar which should be okay (everything is overpriced anyway). So, the store clerk has a camera to catch people from stealing – Leonard is not the only one who figures it is fine to take things without paying. When we do not consider how our actions affect others, laws need to be put in place to protect the public.
In sports, referees are hired to ensure a fair game. When Jordan trips another player racing to the ball during a Sabakiball game, the referee calls a penalty. Jordan was more interested in getting the ball than the safety of the other player. Or when Morgan knocks down a player from the other team in a basketball game, the referee calls a foul. Morgan needed that player to go down so the other team couldn’t score again. When we do not consider how our actions affect others, referees need to be put in place to ensure a fair game.
The actions of people that need to be managed by laws and rules stems from an underlying lack of awareness. Reacquainting ourselves with kindness, understanding and respect will allow for us to live among, and even compete with (like in sports), each other respectfully. If Billy respected Suzy’s time as much as he valued his own, he would happily clean up after himself out of respect for Suzy. If Suzy was aware that her curiosity was violating Billy’s privacy, should would not have looked at his texts. If Grace thought for one second that a child’s life was in danger because of her speeding, she would cautiously slow down. If Leonard understood that the shopkeeper had to pay for the candy bar Leonard was stealing, he would get the bar later when he had enough money. If Jordan or Morgan honed their own skills at their sports, they would not need to resort to breaking the rules to stop the other players.
Awareness is a change in mind set. It is not something that can be forced or demanded. When laws and rules are put in place, it is an attempt to change behavior. But they do not change mentality. Actions are expressions, or symptoms if you will, of our thoughts and beliefs. We can encourage people’s positive mind set through acts of kindness, a show of respect and examples of understanding. When our thoughts turn to respect for one another then our actions come out respectfully. Think about it, the people in your life you look up to probably exhibited these traits because most of us respect Respect. If we started within and became more aware of our thoughts and beliefs, we would need less rules and less laws because people would choose to do the right thing on their own.
LEADING BY EXAMPLE is the only way to change one's mind set toward mutual respect, kindness and understanding. Join SABAKIBALL in raising the bar higher and leading by example!
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Monica Rosen is the CEO/CFO of Sabakiball International.