I have enjoyed the opportunity to share these monthly “Be” messages over the past few years. I typically offer thoughts related to our business and culture, and occasionally cross over into more personal messages about how to give more of ourselves and be mindful of our roles as friends, family members and members of our community. I am grateful for the opportunity to share my thoughts as it forces me to reflect on my own personal actions and responsibilities. It forces me to think about bringing balance to my life, and how I can be a better father, a better leader and overall, hopefully, a better person.
Over the past few months, I find myself thinking a great deal about the world we live in and the troubling events that surround us. Race relations, terrorist attacks and a seemingly loss of faith in our political leadership are all issues that keep me up at night and are hard to avoid in our day-to-day lives. Recent terrorist attacks and the senseless loss of lives in places like Nice (France) and Orlando underscore the hatred and confusion in our world today. Equally horrifying, attacks on our law enforcement in Baton Rouge and Dallas, as well as the terrible events that led to these attacks, highlight our lack of progress and the ongoing racial divide that remains in this country.
These are incredibly difficult issues to comprehend or make any sense of. I have no experience or background to truly understand the difficult job of our dedicated law enforcement officers and cannot claim to know what it is like to be profiled based on the way I look or the color of my skin.
In trying to offer some perspective to my boys on these recent events, I have searched for some personal experience and emotion to draw from. I shared with them a story from my childhood that I have reflected on many times over the past weeks and months. My family and I were awakened by a call from our Rabbi telling us that our Temple was on fire just a few blocks away. I remember the feeling I had when we rushed over and saw the enormous flames, and then, the incredible sadness and confusion when I heard the firemen tell my parents about the anti-sematic remarks written on the walls and ground of this beloved burning building. Clearly, this was no accident and was my first experience with the unfortunate hatred and ignorance in our society.
I often think back to that feeling I had as a 13-year-old. This event had a profound impact on me, but not because of the hatred and ignorance that I first became exposed to; it was the reaction of others, the resilience of our congregation and the generosity and support of our community that has stayed with me over the years. While it’s not the magnitude of recent events, this is where I find my perspective and strength. It’s this reflection and emotion that steer my feelings of helplessness into feelings of hope and confidence in humanity.
So, while I am not an expert on this topic, I do believe we can all play a small role in rebuilding our communities. One caring gesture, one act of compassion and one good deed at a time can start to make a difference. Mahatma Gandhi said “ The greatness of humanity is not in being human, but in being humane.”
I pray my boys can live in a world that is blind to color and free from these senseless attacks. I know we live in a time that seems so far from this becoming a reality, but I hope to do my small part in making a difference. Please join me in trying to turn anger and frustration into hope and action – one “humane” act at a time.