Awesome Stories 376
This week I’m changing the focus for my Awesome Stories.
I will likely use just one or two stories each week with a more in-depth discussion of why I like the story or what it means to me in my life. I may also feature more local people in my stories. I want to invite more discussion of what inspires us, makes us live purposefully and joyously.
Calling People In
Reach out to the person who said the offensive thing. Form a relationship with them. Invest in them. ~ Betsy Leondar-Wright
This story stirred my heart for its touching example of how we can make a difference in the world, one person at a time. I love the author’s idea to call people in rather than our current culture to call out anyone who doesn’t conform to our idea of good behavior. What Betsy Leondar-Wright means by calling in is to include them; reaching out to understand and help someone who doesn’t act the way we want them to.
I’m not condoning the bad or harmful behavior, but too many people’s lives are being disrupted or destroyed because their actions don’t conform to some other groups expectations or beliefs of what is appropriate. Each week (or day) we see some business leader or celebrity publically tried and found guilty because of something they say or do ( or maybe even for simply the rumor of something.) Judging others only isolates us from each other, often expanding the hurt and unwanted behavior. Every day on Facebook, I see my friends judge, criticize, and attack other people online for opinions or choices that differ from their own.
Notice in the article what Betsy did;
- She never let go of her liking and respect for Tom as a fundamentally good person.
- She listened first, learning his story.
- She didn’t let the behavior slide.
- She gave it time, continuing to share and build the relationship.
In Betsy’s words, “I can boil this experience down to two words: I was respectful and engaged. Far more often, I’ve been closed and judgmental.”
Here is a beautiful example of calling someone in from Becky. Tom, a man she worked with, kept saying “black people don’t like me.” She didn’t understand why a person she generally liked and found compassionate would keep saying this. Instead of attacking his position, she asked questions and didn’t criticise or try to change his mind. She did keep him in her mind and heart and decided on a course of action. One day she paired him up with a gay black man to go canvas a low income, mostly black neighborhood.
Tom came back changed.
He told Betsy, “I’m a sucker for the elderly”, and he never talked about black people not liking him again. Even better, a few weeks later, Tom came back from the field very excited to share with Betsy. He had helped someone else move beyond their limiting beliefs about black people. So Tom had not only changed due to Betsy ‘calling him in’, but he duplicated the action and helped change another person with loving, inclusive action.
I hope to remember to call someone in next time I disagree with their ideas or behaviors. It is far too easy and common to simply judge and isolate.
May we call each other into our hearts and lives, remembering that we are all one human family.