Have you been Naughty or Nice?
It’s that time of year when we all espouse peace on earth but live in a way that will never let that happen.
Rogers and Hammerstein taught us in the musical South Pacific that “we have to be taught from year to year, it has to be drummed in our dear little ear, to hate all the people our relatives fear, we have to be carefully taught”.
We are all being carefully taught these days to hate and fear all of the people who are different from the face we see in the mirror.
We talk about building a wall along our southern border but not our northern border. Is that just because the border movement from the U.S. is towards Canada while the border movement from the southern border is towards the United States? Or is it because Canadians look a lot like us so we are not afraid of them?
People on the left and right politically show dark faces when they picture either folks who need food stamps or criminals depending on one’s point-of-view. But both images are inherently racist. More white people use food stamps than black and more white folks are criminals than black. African Americans make up about 1/3 of the people incarcerated in our country. When you learn about a criminal act, do you picture a dark face or a light skinned one?
Do you give to charities that support people with disabilities? That makes you nice; but do you hire them to work in your business? Don’t think there are jobs people with disabilities can do because your work is too complicated for them? That makes you naughty. Look again, you would be surprised at the talents that people with disabilities have, and some of them can make your business more profitable.
Do you look twice at a mixed race couple or mixed race family? What about a gay couple? If these differing examples of love make you a bit uncomfortable, maybe Santa would think that was naughty. Or more importantly, if we truly want peace on earth each of us needs to act in a way that would make that happen. Celebrating love in all its forms seems like a good way to get started. Excluding folks who are different from whatever confronts us in the bathroom mirror each morning, is not helping a very difficult problem.
Leading from a position of fear is not leadership. Each of us needs to be willing to be a leader in our everyday interactions with others. Assume people who look different have similar needs and wants to our own. Assume people with differing skill sets can still contribute to the bottom line of any business. Buck the thundering voices of negativity all around us, not just at this time of year but every day. Spend your “naughty” on that extra piece of dark chocolate, and save your “nice” for a smile to a struggling mother and perhaps a pay-it-forward good deed or a willingness to take a risk with a job offer to someone with differing abilities. Santa would approve of both.