Category Archives: Social
Reflecting On Some Of My Recent Experiences
Be a human, bring out each other’s humanity.
Recently, I went to a new hairdressers and a young lady ‘worked’ on me. Whilst she worked on me I noticed a difference. What did I notice? It occurred to me that here is person who cares: cares about me and cares about the work that she is doing. When she finished her work, I looked her in the face, smiled and said something like this “You care! You care don’t you? I can tell that this is not just a job for you. I can tell that you care about hairdressing and that you care for people like me – your customers. Thank you.”
What showed up, how did she respond? Despite being English, she was not embarrassed at this acknowledgement. Instead, I noticed a light go on inside of her: she beamed a smile, her eyes lit up and it occurs to me that, at least for a moment, she had wings. She told me that I had made her day and thanked me. The experience, this experience of the human to human connection, left me at least two feet of the ground.
I saw my Chiropractor and she worked on my neck. In order to work on my neck I had to lie down on the ‘couch’ and rest my head in her hands. Whilst she supported my head and worked on my neck I felt the manifestation of love: she was totally present in the moment, totally with the work that she was doing, she was patient (not in a hurry to get it over with), she was gentle. I found myself to be deeply touched by this. It occurred to me that I had just been given a gift, one that I have rarely experienced. At the end of our session, I told her exactly that and thanked her. Once she got over her initial surprise, a smile came over her face and she thanked me. I left with joy being present in my being.
I did some consulting work for a client. And I put all that there was to put into the work. One could even argue that I went ‘above and beyond’ that which was stipulated in the statement of work. The work was well received by the senior managers who received it. At the end of the final presentation, the Sponsor left the conference room without any acknowledgment of my existence. No thank you. No shake of hands. No meeting of eyes and all that can be conveyed through the eyes and the face – without any words.
Why Am I Sharing These Experiences With You?
It occurs to me that there is so much talk of Customer Service and so little understanding of what service really is. It occurs to me that I hear so much about Customer Experience and there is so little understanding what it is and what it takes to generate a great customer experience. It occurs to me that business folks are so addicted to ‘data-technology-process’ in CRM that they are not present to that which creates-consitutes customer relationships, and keeps them in existence: the genuine caring, respect and affinity that occurs between two or more human beings.
I notice that the Customer conversation – whether Service, Customer Experience or CRM – ignores the voice of those who actually serve the customer: the sales rep on the ground, the account manager, the call-centre agent taking the calls, the store clerks …. What would show up if these people were the one’s writing on ‘all things Customer’? Being one of them and knowing some of them, it occurs to me that we would say that it really takes something to render great service when those who we are serving (‘Customers’) treat us as mere objects. It also occurs to me that we would say that whilst the job, itself, is hard and can suck (from time to time), human kindness makes all the difference: the kindness of our colleagues, the kindness of managers, and the kindness of customers.
Does kindness require a lot from us? I say “No!”. It simply requires a return of a value that is commonly neglected. Which value? The value that I grew up with and which became a part of me:
courtesyˈkəːtɪsi/nounthe showing of politeness in one’s attitude and behaviour towards others.“he treated the players with courtesy and good humour
I Invite You To Think On This
Everyone wants to know why customer service has gone to hell in a handbasket. I want to know why customer behaviour has gone to hell ..
— I do know how it feels to be an invisible member of the service industry. It can suck. When the customers were kind and respectful, it was ok, but one “waiter as object”moment could tear me apart. Unfortunately, I now see those moments happening all of the time. I see adults who don’t even look at their waiters when they are speaking to them. I see parents who let their children talk down to the store clerks. I see people rage and scream at receptionists …….
When we treat people as objects we dehumanise them. We do something really terrible to their souls and to our own. Martin Buber ….. wrote about the differences between an I-it relationship and an I-you relationship. An I-it relationship is basically what we create when we are in transactions with people whom we treat as objects – people who are simply there to serve us or complete a task. I-you relationships are characterised by human connection and empathy.
Buber wrote “When two people relate to each other authentically and humanly, God is the electricity that surges between them.”
…. I can say for certain that we are hardwired for connection – emotionally, physically and spiritually. I am not suggesting that we engage in a deep, meaningful relationship with the man who works at the cleaners or the woman that works at the drive through, but I am suggesting that we stop dehumanising people and start looking them in the eye when we speak to them.
Where Do I Stand?
It occurs to me that I care little about customer strategy. Little about relationship marketing. Little about customer service. Little about Customer Experience. And little about CRM. It occurs to me that I care little about B2B or B2C. It occurs to me that I care little about Process, Data, Technology or Metrics. So what do I care about?
It occurs to me that I care about being a decent human being: customer strategy, relationship marketing, customer service, Customer Experience and CRM are simply vehicles for me to ‘be a decent human being and calling forth the best of our (you and me) humanity’.
Want to improve the Customer Experience? Start with yourself in your role of Customer. Listen to Brene Brown’s advice and stop dehumanising the people that serve you: the sales person, the store clerk, the call-centre agent, the field service guy that shows up at your home/office. Treat these fellow human beings with respect, start by looking them in the eye when you speak with them.
If you up for being bold, then step up and genuinely thank the person that makes your coffee. And if that person is confused with your request for “milk” don’t assume that s/he is stupid, lazy, difficult, incompetent: this says more about you as a human being than it does about the person standing behind the bar serving coffee. When Brene Brown was waiting tables she was doing so to pay for her bachelors degree. I leave you with the words with which I started this conversation:
Be a human, bring out each other’s humanity.
Do We Know It All?
I’d like to start this conversation by getting us mindful to a definition:
lack of knowledge or information.“he acted in ignorance of basic procedures”
I say that our ignorance is vast. And we are not present to our ignorance because we are convinced that we have an accurate grasp of the world: we know it all! Our hubris blinds us that which history makes vividly clear: each age is deluded in its conviction that it has accessed the truth of what is so. Does this remind you of Socrates? The Oracle claimed that Socrates was the wisest man because he knew that he knew nothing. On that basis we are not wise – nowhere near close to wise.
Do You Remember This Starbucks/’Milk’ Story?
Why have I launched into this conversation? If you read this blog then you may remember this post and this narrative:
Last week, while on an average holiday shopping trip, my mother and I decided to stop by Starbucks to get a quick snack…..
When we got up to the counter, my mother placed our simple order, at which point she asked for a “tall” cup of two percent white milk. This is how the conversation played out:
“Mocha,” said the barista.
“No. Milk,” my mother repeated.
“No. Two percent white milk.”
….. I attempted to withhold my personal thoughts. Milk. You know, that white stuff you pour in the coffee? Yes, well, we want an entire cup full of that. Minus the coffee, of course.
Our barista proceeded to ask if we’d like the milk steamed, but we opted for cold. (They steamed it anyway.) Eventually, we managed to get our order straightened out, but not without a few stifled giggles.
Making Sense Of This Story Through The Insights of Heidegger & Wittgenstein
You may also remember the follow up post where I made use of the insights of Heidegger & Wittgenstein. And in so doing attempted to point out that:
- every human being is always a being-in-the-world - which is to say that the human being and the world are so interwoven that they are one not two;
- every human being finds himself, at every moment, situated-embedded in a particular world e.g. the business world, the academic world, the public world, the world of home etc and that world ‘takes over’ the human beings working-living in that world;
- a word such as ‘milk’ does not point at a specific object rather it, and every word-utterance, is a social tool for coordinating social action in a specific world – think for a moment what ‘milk’ means to a woman that has just given birth and compare that to what ‘milk’ means to a supermarket;
- that the confusion that occurred at Starbucks and with the barista was due to the narrator’s mother turning up in the Starbucks world of coffee and using the word ‘milk’ inappropriately – akin to you turning up at your friend’s home for a meal, enjoying the meal and then asking for the bill; and
- to really understand a world (e.g. the advertising world) one needs to live in that world by taking up a role in that world and doing that which goes with the role taken up.
After reading this follow up post, Adrian Swinscoe commented (bolding is my work):
I really like your exploration of this issue from a philosophical angle and learnt a lot from it….
However, at the end of the post I found myself wondering if the heart of the problem was something quite humdrum and that the barista just didn’t listen. She obviously heard something but didn’t properly listen for whatever reason….fatigue, lack of care, language, bias, agenda etc etc.
As you point out, if we don’t get out of our way and our own ‘heads’ then we’ll struggle to understand and really help and serve others.
Now I want to address the points that Adrian is making. And that means grappling with the problem of knowledge and the curse of expertise. Let’s start with Adrian’s statement “if we don’t get out of our own way and our own ‘heads’ then we’ll struggle to understand and really help and serve others.”
Is It Possible To Get Out Of Our ‘Heads’?
If I was to get out of my own ‘head’ then whose ‘head’ would I use to be able to make sense of the world in which I find myself? Besides we are almost never in our heads, we are mostly on automatic pilot immersed in cultural practices and taken over by our habits. If this was not the case then thinking, genuine thinking, would not be so effortful for us. Let’s listen to Charles Guignon:
If all our practices take place within a horizon of vague and inexplicit everyday understanding , then even the possibility of something obtruding as intelligible is determined in advance by this understanding …….. the questions that I can ask and the kind of answers that would make sense are always guided by my attuned understanding of “ordinary” interpretations …. Without this understanding, nothing could strike me as familiar or strange.
For this reason Heidegger says that all explanation presupposes understanding…… The legitimate task of seeking explanations is always conducting within a horizon of understanding that guides our questioning and establishes procedures for attaining clarity and elucidation. Through our mastery of the shared language of the Anyone, we have developed specific habits and expectations that enable us to see things as obvious or puzzling...
A detective trying to make sense of how a crime was committed …. might take even the most mundane item in the room and ask how it came to be there ….. great advances have come about in the sciences through the ability of individuals to step back and question what had been taken as obvious and self-evident. But such cases of departing from established habits and expectations make sense only against a background of shared understanding which remains constant through such shifts. In other words, we can make sense of unintelligibility and a demand for explanation only within a horizon of intelligibility which is not itself thrown into question …..
- Charles B. Guignon, Heidegger and the Problem of Knowledge
To sum up we are always in our ‘head’ and that head arises and is kept in existence through our shared cultural practices. A particular potent cultural practices is language. Notice that to operate in society we must speak the language of that society – everyday language. And to operate in particular world (e.g. world of business, world of finance, world of advertising, world of healthcare ….) we must be fluent in the language of that world.
Adjustments can be made to our ‘head’ and it is not easy to make these adjustments. Why? Adjustments are not made through thinking – not made through cognitive means. As ‘head’ is given by roles, habits and cultural practices it is necessary to make a shift in these. How? By moving into and inhabiting-living new worlds. This is what occurs when the CEO leaves the world of the CEO and takes on-lives the role of the frontline employee for five days; Undercover Boss is all about this shift. If you find yourself interested in that which I am speaking about here then I recommend watching the movie The Doctor (starring William Hurt) – it is instructive in a way that my words cannot instruct.
The Curse Of Expertise
How does Adrian interpret the Starbucks/’Milk’ story? The same way that many of us interpret it:
“She obviously heard something but didn’t properly listen for whatever reason….fatigue, lack of care, language, bias, agenda etc etc.
Why this conviction that ‘that which occurred’ is the fault of the barista? Why this insistence on the incompetence of the barista? I say that this explanation is so easily forthcoming and attracting (rather like a magnet) because it is the cultural practice to see fault in front line staff, especially as these jobs are low paid, and thus lay blame on them.
What if the barista was not fatigued, not tired, speaks the language well, has no agenda? What if, on the contrary, the barista is highly skilled in her role of serving coffee to Starbucks customers? Is it possible expertise, not ignorance, is the cause of the snafus? Let’s listen to a zen master and see what we can learn:
In Japan we have the phrase “shoshin” which means “beginner’s mind”. The goal of practice is to always keep our beginner’s mind. Suppose your recite the Prajna Paramitra Sutra only once. It might be a very good recitation. But what would happen to you if you recited it twice, three times, four times or more? You might easily lose your original attitude towards it….
If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything; it is open to everything. In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities; in the expert’s mind there are few.”
- Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind
The curse of expertise is that the expert only sees that which s/he has been conditioned to see; hears that which s/he has been conditioned to listen to; makes sense of that which shows up through her already given horizon of understanding (see Guignon above). Put differently, the expert is stuck in a rut: all that shows up, including the anomaly, is interpreted in times of the taken for granted. Which is why altruistic acts are made sense of in terms of selfishness given the Darwinian frame. Or the necessity to postulate ‘dark matter’ given the need to keep the existing model of the universe intact. Or the collapsing of Customer Experience with Customer Service in the business world. Or the insistence of seeing CRM as technology and business process change rather than a fundamental change in the ‘way we do things around here’.
As a consultant/coach/facilitator what do I bring to the table? At my best I bring to the table a beginner’s mind where everyone on the ‘inside’ is an expert. Which is why I am often able to see that which my clients cannot see. The challenge always is to convey that which I have seen to my clients such that they do not reinterpret it into their existing way of seeing-doing things. Often I fail: despite my best efforts to ‘ask for milk’ I find that my clients interpret as ‘mocha’. And when I say “No, milk!”, they respond “Surely, you are asking for Mocha!”. And even if I strike up the courage to insist that ‘milk’ is not the same as ‘Mocha’ I find that they often confuse ‘Two percent white milk” with ‘steamed milk’. They are not at fault, it is the curse of expertise. And it inflicts us all!
And Finally A Quote
I leave you with a quote that sums up the situation and the challenge beautifully:
Create your future from your future not your past.
- Werner Erhard
Tags: beginner's mind, change, curse of expertise, customer experience, customer service, horizon of intelligibility, horizon of understanding, innovation, knowledge, listening, Starbucks, transformation
Beyond The Nonsense of Employee Engagement: What Truly Calls Forth ‘Engagement’ and Generates High Performance?
What Occurred Over The Last Week
It occurs to me that I have not been well for at least a week. Almost every night for at least the seven days my sleep has been fitful and I have been luck when I have been able to get 3 – 4 hours of interrupted sleep. Some nights I have slept downstairs so as not to disturb my wife.
I ate one light meal on Monday. I ate one light meal on Tuesday. I ate one normal meal on Wednesday as I was really hungry. Shortly thereafter I found myself in the bathroom throwing up. I ate a light meal on Thursday. And I ate nothing on Friday lunchtime even though I was hungry and my two colleagues did their very best to persuade me to eat something!
In amidst all of this: I turned up at client sites to join my colleagues and do the work that was necessary; accepted the responsibility for generating the structure and writing most of the final presentation deck (40+slides); worked at least 8 hours a day whilst often in pain or just uncomfortable; and sat amongst my colleagues on Friday whilst the three of us finalised and delivered the final presentation to our client. Once it was all finished, I told one of my colleagues that I was looking forward to going home, eating something, and resting.
Why did I not chose the easier option of just calling in sick? In fact, my wife seeing my state encouraged me to take care of my health: phone in sick, visit the doctor, rest-recover and then get back to work.
Please notice that nobody had to devise mechanisms (rewards and punishments) or engage in propaganda (empty misleading talk in tune with most marketing communications) to get me motivated and engaged. I did not do what I did because of fear of punishment. I did not do what I did because of money – bonus. I did not do what I did because someone was call me onto the stage and say great words about me and hand me trinkets.
Why Did I Do What I Did?
I did what I did because it was never an option to let my friend and team leader (Richard Hornby) down! I knew that there is nobody else (with the appropriate skills) available to take over that work that is my domain – except for Richard. And I knew that Richard was already overstretched due to working on multiple engagements. I did what I did out of love:
“What we will do for love will always be far more powerful than what we will do for money. What we can do together will always be far greater than what we can do alone.” Pavithra Mehta
Money, no amount of money, can buy genuine care-love-meaning-community. And that is what most, or at least many, of us yearn for, live for, and ultimately allows us to face death. Interestingly, what Richard, Matthew and I were able to do together, and indeed did together as one team, was more than what each of us did alone. This became clear when we put our presentation together from our individual pieces, and took what did not work and reworked it (by contributing, listening, debating, building on one another’s insights-contributions) and ended up with a great presentation: a sentiment share by us and our client.
Please notice that I did not need anybody to preach to me on the value of social, or collaboration. Nor did I need people to provide me with social/collaboration tools. Indeed, I did not use any. Email and the phone were sufficient to keep in touch with my colleagues and do that which was necessary.
The Poverty of The Workplace
It occurs to me that the workplace is a place of poverty. What kind of poverty? A poverty of relationships of genuine caring (for one another as fellow human beings), mutual respect, and collaboration. A poverty of that which calls forth the very best of us: beautiful workplaces, meaningful work, climate of solidarity, and a context of love.
Am I alone in this? Look into yourself, look into those whom you know, and answer the questions for yourself:
- would you prefer to work in a beautiful environment or an ugly even bland environment?
- would you prefer to work in an environment of love or one of fear?
- would you prefer to do work that shows up as meaningful work or meaningless work?
- would you prefer to be enmeshed in caring-respectful-collaborative relationships or find yourself enmeshed in relationships of blame-judgement-competition?
Ask yourself what you want to have inscribed on your headstone? “Here lived someone who was loved and loved others, one that made a contribution, touched lives, left behind a better world.” Or would you prefer “Here lies a person who spent their days and their life doing meaningless work in bland/ugly environments full of people who did not care for one another….”?
I share with you two quotes which show up as worth reflecting on:
“What you do today is important, because you are exchanging a day of your life for it.” Unknown
“Living life without making a difference is to be amongst the living dead.” Ron Travisano
I invite you to put love into your relationships, into the workplace, and into the world. I promise you that if you do so then you will enrich existence: yours (as lived-experienced) and all whom you touch. How do I know? Because amidst all the pain that I experienced over the last week, my existence was also rich: all that I was doing was doing for my friend who was counting on me.
If you find that which I write her speaking to you then I invite you to check out this blog.
What Occurred and the Experience of What Occurred
In the last post I shared with a customer interaction that took place at Starbucks. If you are to get value out of this conversation it is necessary for you to go and read that last post. Before we proceed, I feel compelled to issue a warning: this post is not for those whose attention span is limited to 30 seconds.
How are we to make sense of what occurred? Let’s start with how the author (Anna Papachristos) makes sense of the interaction between her mother and the Starbuck’s barista
I’m not sure what was more baffling–the fact that no one in the coffee shop listened, or that they’ve become blissfully unaware of the basics. I understand that Starbucks stands as a status symbol more than anything, but have we really distanced ourselves from the simple things in life that badly? This barista’s mistake may have been the result of a random miscommunication, but her confusion was nothing short of hilarious.
Making Sense of This Customer Interaction: Multiple Perspectives
Two people took up my invitation, in the last post, to put intellect-expertise into action and generate-share an explanation of what occurred. First, lets listen to Gord Demers:
I can’t help but wonder if this could be an English as a Second Language (ESL) situation were one of the parties didn’t have English as their first language…… Maybe the music was too loud and the customer spoke softly and the employee never truly heard the correct order?
James Lawther shares a different take on what occurred:
My guess, though difficult as I wasn’t there… The barista was bored out of her mind, waiting for her shift to end and was in a world of her own. How’s that?
Finally, lets just remind ourselves as to how Don Peppers choose to interpret this interaction:
Starbucks, like the roadside diner and any other business, tries to maintain quality and control costs by standardizing processes and operations. Routine tasks, if they can’t be automated, are at least handled in the same way by every employee.
My Take On What Occurred
It occurs to me another way to look at the situation and what occurred is to make use of the insights of two philosophers: Wittgenstein and Heidegger.
Wittgenstein on Language
Let’s start with Wittgenstein and his insight into language. Wittgenstein starts his book, Philosophical Investigations, by sharing a quotation from St Augustine in order to put on the table our taken for granted understanding of language. This is what Wittgenstein says about this account of language:
These words, it seems to me, give us a particular picture of the essence of human language. It is this: the individual words in language name objects—sentences are combinations of such names. In this picture of language we find the roots of the following idea: Every word has a meaning. This meaning is correlated with the word. It is the object for which the word stands.
Wittgenstein does not see language in this way. Wittgenstein sees words and language as tools. What kind of tools? Social tools for social purposes in specific domains of social life:
A common summary of his argument is that meaning is use—words are not defined by reference to the objects they designate, nor by the mental representations one might associate with them, but by how they are used……
He shows how, in each case, the meaning of the word presupposes our ability to use it….
Wittgenstein’s point is not that it is impossible to define “game”, but that we don’t have a definition, and we don’t need one, because even without the definition, we use the word successfully. Everybody understands what we mean when we talk about playing a game……
Wittgenstein argues that definitions emerge from what he termed “forms of life”, roughly the culture and society in which they are used. Wittgenstein stresses the social aspects of cognition; to see how language works for most cases, we have to see how it functions in a specific social situation. It is this emphasis on becoming attentive to the social backdrop against which language is rendered intelligible that explains Wittgenstein’s elliptical comment that “If a lion could talk, we could not understand him.”
Heidegger: human being as being-in-the-world
In grappling with the question of being Heidegger chooses to look at the being who has an understanding of being: human being. In so looking, Heidegger asserts that a human being is a being-in-the-world. It is tempting to interpret this as meaning that the world is a container, say a glass, and the human being is in the world, as water is in a glass. Wrong! A more accurate representation is to see a tapestry and a human being is one thread in the tapestry. Notice, there is not a thread isolated from the tapestry – the two are one!
Not only is a human being a being-in-the-world, it is also so that a human being is situated within specific worlds. What kind of ‘worlds’? The world of academia. The world of business. The world of politics. The world of education-schooling. The world of Christianity. The world of Islam. The world of the high-tech start up. The VC world. The world of finance ……
What constitutes a world? A world consists of human beings, their concerns, roles, interactions between human beings, tasks and equipment (stuff).
“Oh … milk!”: the solution to the riddle?
In our average everydayness what is closest to us is our environment (Umwelt) in which we are caught up in our concerns and activities.
Situated in a world, busy with the concerns-activities-equipment, we approach each encounter from a particular understanding. What kind of understanding? The automatic-default understanding of a particular world. For example, in the world of dining at restaurants you automatically ask for the bill, pay, leave a tip. Do you do the same after enjoying a delicious meal at a friends house when you have been invited as a guest? What would happen if you did ask your hostess for a bill? Or insist on paying for the meal?
It occurs to me that the author (Anna Papachristos) committed the same kind of blunder (asking your host for a bill at the end of the meal) when the authors mother walked into Starbucks and asked for “Milk”. In the world of Starbucks, the world of coffee and coffee drinkers, one does not walk into a Starbucks, stand in line, get to the barista and ask for milk.
The barista is in the world of coffee and in a dance with customers who show up and ask for a coffee. In this world the request for milk is puzzling. It is nonsensical in the sense that one cannot automatically make sense of it. How does the barista make sense of it? Probably by looking for the coffee word that sounds closest to milk: “Mocha?” Notice, that the barista did not get milk until the authors mother said: “No. Two percent white milk.”. What was the barista’s response? “Oh … milk!” Finally, the barista has made sense of the nonsensical request for “milk”.
What makes me confident of my interpretation? The author writes (the bolding is my work):
This barista’s mistake may have been the result of a random miscommunication, but her confusion was nothing short of hilarious.
Yes, the barista was confused. She was as confused by the request for milk as a hostess would be by a guest’s request for a bill!
Let’s move on and consider why it is that even when the barista got the demand for milk, Starbucks delivered steamed milk and not cold milk:
Our barista proceeded to ask if we’d like the milk steamed, but we opted for cold. (They steamed it anyway.) Eventually, we managed to get our order straightened out.
Think back to Wittgenstein: the meaning of a word is the use to which it is put within a particular social world. What is the meaning-use of the word ‘milk’ in Starbucks? Milk that goes into coffee. What kind of milk is that? Steamed milk. Put differently, in a game of chess ‘castle’ does not mean a castle as in a castle where a lord lives. Nor does castling in chess mean moving between castles in real life!
Why Have I Made Such An Effort With This Challenge?
Think research: how can you be sure that the question that you asked is the question that the customer answered?
Think Voice of the Customer feedback: how can you be sure that what you took the customer’s feedback to mean is what the customer meant?
Think requirements gathering: how can you be sure that you have understand the requirement that the customer is actual communicating?
Think experience design: how can you be sure that you have gotten the experience of the customer that you talking to, right now?
To truly understand our fellow human beings we have to immerse ourselves in them. How? By living in their worlds. Which is why it takes a nurse to understand a nurse, a doctor to understand a doctor, a CEO to understand a CEO, a woman to understand a woman, a person with back pain to understand a person with back pain, an immigrant to understand an immigrant.
If you do want to understand another then learn from Undercover Boss. Get out of your office. Dive into a particular world by fulfilling a particular role in that world. Dress for that role, train for that role. Dive into the activities that go with that role by actually doing the activities – not as a simulation but for real. And spend enough time, at least five days, living that role.
It takes a woman to understand a woman, a CEO to understand a CEO, an immigrant to understand an immigrant, a teenager to understand a teenager, a person with back pain to understand another person with back pain …….. How do you know when you have arrived at this level of understanding? You live-breathe-speak the same language! And it speaks you. Enough for today ..
Take care of God’s creation. But above all, take care of people in need
- Pope Francis
“I’m not contagious, but he didn’t know. He just did it; he caressed all my face, and while he was doing that, I felt only love.”
- Vinicio Riva
I say let’s not restrict our care, our love solely for people. Let’s expand our compassion to include animals and life itself. Let us learn from the example of John Unger as expressed in his relationship, care and love for Schoep, his dog.
“Shep falls asleep every night when he is carried into the lake. The buoyancy of the water soothes his arthritic bones……
I want people to identify with this photo, and remember a time when they felt safe, loved, and cared for,” “Then I want them to channel those feelings and pay it forward!…“
- Stonehouse Hudson