Parenting/Leadership Toolkit … since 2003

February 2016

pics-DiversityBanner.001

Dear parents, parents-2-b, moms, dads, caregivers, social workers, support group leaders, grandparents & educators [in short Proud2Believers]

Compassion is contagious. Let it spread deep into another’s soul. –Trina Hall

Right now we are being surrounded with a lot of negativity. We’re constantly being bombarded with pressure and stressful situations, but it is our choice how we are going to respond to them. We can choose to take responsibility and decide to be in full control over our attitude…or…we can live day by day, and let the waves of life take us wherever they want to go.

Choose to live your life the way YOU want to live it! Stop being a victim of outside circumstances and decide to gain a positive outlook on life. And remember – it is the small things that make all the difference! 

I invite you to scroll down to this month’s parenting/leadership toolkit for guidelines on Embracing Diversity with COMPASSION. Change is never easy but reality is…it starts with ME. These are some hands-on tips for primary and secondary caregivers, which we invite you to share with your family, colleagues and community members. If you do not yet receive this free electronic monthly toolkit directly from Proud2b ME® and you would like to receive it, please click here.

My heart and soul is aching for what is happening to our human family.  Too much misunderstanding that I believe can be replaced by compassion for diversity. It feels like most of us want to find the light but [1] we are forever waiting for someone else to press the light switch or [2] we are continuously switching between on and off because we are procrastinating in the thinking process which is not taking us to the action level.  

pics-ThinkInkShareAction.001Change is in my hands, but thinking about it is not going to make anything happen. PROUD2b ME® shares our ethos of  ‘I can’t just think it! I need to ink it, share it so that I can ACTION it’. We encourage our participants to make this part of a positive and compassion driven lifestyle. Action has no remote, get up and DO IT yourself.

In guiding yesteryears children to raise responsible tomorrows parents by giving tools on how to change negative patterns, that we could have well inherited, to positive patterns for the sake of responsible citizenship, I trust you will take time to read and share this toolkit.

One such pattern that needs attention right now is to consciously embrace diversity with compassion. That is, we must appreciate the richness of difference that exists in our human family, empathise with all types of people, and action against discrimination. There is beauty in diversity.

We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.     — Maya Angelou

The human race is extraordinarily diverse in so many ways. Gender, ethnicity, race, class, religion, nationality, sexuality, philosophy, lifestyle. The areas in which we differ are endless. Yet, at a basic level, we are all of the same human species. We experience highs and lows in life and strive to be happy and fulfilled.

Our common pains and joys are what bring us together, but our diversity makes us unique. It is what deems you or I our own special person, one who has never existed and will never exist again.

The diversity of our existence is beautiful, but people today are still entangled in a predicament, one that has plagued mankind since the beginning of time. The list of major tragedies in our history that were caused solely by this phenomenon is mind-boggling. Slavery, the Holocaust, The Crusades, the genocide of the American Indian, Apartheid. The list could go on and on. So many people have died or been deprived of basic rights because of a lack of understanding — an understanding that difference in appearance, belief, or way of life does not make one person better than another.

The reason why this lack of understanding is damaging to everyone is less clear-cut. It has to do with how we come to find true happiness by living with compassion.

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. –Dalai Lama

  • Compassion refers to the love for and desire to help all people. Only through compassion can we find lasting joy.
  • Compassion allows us to walk down the street and see only the faces of our brothers and sisters, of other humans living the same life as us.
  • Compassion allows us to realize our role in something much larger than ourselves. It allows us to forget our selfish desires and to strive to better the lives of the less fortunate. Truly caring for others fills us with purpose and peace.

The goal of compassion is not to care because someone is like us but to care because they are themselves.— Mary Lou Randour

When our minds are polluted by prejudice, we pick out and focus on differences. We unknowingly waste much of our time criticizing and disliking others. This intolerance within us causes anger and resentment. Hostility towards others eventually leaves us cold, calloused, and bitter. It causes us to become self-absorbed, caught up in our own struggles, fears and anxieties.

Prejudice and unfair assumptions are the enemy of everyone. How can we overcome them?

The way to overcome our judgments and to realize real compassion and happiness is to work against them, constantly.  

Here are a few strategies for THINKing, INKing, SHARing and ACTIONing:

1. Everyone’s Narrative/Story. Consider your own life, and everything that has shaped your behaviour, beliefs and values. Realize that each of the 7 billion+ people on this planet has their own narrative/story. Not one is the same and everyones challenges and reactions to it are different. In gentle and teachable moments, allow your family and circle of friends to be the audience of your narrative/story. Allow them to also share amongst each other. It is in the sharing that we find many answers to years of questions and the healing process starts.

2. Where are you coming from? When you find yourself thinking poorly of someone, stop and consider what influences have created your negative views of that individual. I always encourage people to take their feet out of their shoes of today and to put it into the shoes of the person they want to understand. It takes practice but it gives a lot of clarity and perspective. Instead of putting others in their place, put yourself in their place.

3. Befriend all people. If you know that you tend to avoid befriending certain types of people, go out of your way to find friends of all kinds. Most of the time it is our own fear of being accepted or rejected. Open up and face your vulnerabilities.

Minds are like parachutes — they only function when open.— Sir James Dewar

4. Empathy. When you encounter anyone, try to imagine, understand, and sympathize with that person’s story, with everything that has made them who they are. Don’t judge, understand and feel. It takes self discipline to stand back and understand before you react, but the outcome is dual respect and peace.

5. Actively understand & accept. Think before you ink, share and action upon embracing other people, with all of the diversity that comes with them. Don’t allow yourself to define a person based upon one stereotype about one aspect of their complex identity. Before you react, make sure you take time to understand. At present I find many people living: ‘I see, I think, I feel, I DO’, which ends up being reactive and hurtful. I encourage people to add a stop in between so that we ‘I see, I think, I feel, I UNDERSTAND, and only then I do.’

6. Show compassion. Perform random acts of kindness for all types of people but start with yourself. Have compassion for your transformation. Give yourself time and acknowledgement for changing negative patterns to positive patterns. Then circle it out, in fact, it will happen naturally. Acts of kindness can be as simple as:

  • Challenge yourself to smile more
  • Open the door for someone.
  • Motivate others.
  • Allocate time to bond with friends and family.
  • Say encouraging words.
  • Share a hug or a handshake.
  • Incorporate the phrase “thank you” into your daily routine.
  • Nurture relationships by taking time to listen to others.

[source: Refine the Mind, Jordan Bates]

Compassion can be put into practice if one recognises the fact that every human being is a member of humanity and the human family regardless of differences in religion, culture, colour and creed. Deep down there is no difference. -Dalai Lama