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The way we treat each other matters

A mentor, colleague and dear friend of mine was eulogized last week by his family and friends. Speaking at a funeral is challenging. The many happy, joyful tributes were punctuated by long pauses as those who knew him and loved him took the necessary time to collect themselves. It was, naturally, sad. But amid the tears, there was genuine and appropriate laughter because that’s who my friend was – a man who knew that life is for us to be engaged in while we live it, no matter what the circumstances. It’s asked of us to find love and joy and happiness alongside the difficulties of sorrow, loss and confusion. He embodied that principle right to the end of his life.

One of the speakers, his son, quoted his Dad’s wisdom by remembering one of the life lessons he taught all his children: The way we treat each other matters.

Think of it! The way we treat each other matters.

Whether you are working with colleagues, talking to a stranger in line, or explaining teenage girls’ behavior to your teenage son, the way we treat each other matters. On every level – nation to nation, neighbor to neighbor, parent to child, sister to brother – the way we treat each other matters. It matters to the other person. It matters to the outcome of the interaction. It matters to you – to the person you are, the person you continue to be and the person you can and continue to become when you realize that the way you act is who…you…are.

I’m sure you remember when someone treated you kindly when the rest of the gang was treating you harshly. You remember because it mattered to you to be treated well (particularly at times when you felt down, or lost or like the world was against you). The way we treat each other matters. It mattered to you then because it always matters.

And, it matters how you treat yourself. Harking back to last week’s message, and looking ahead to all of December, remember that treating yourself with respect, honesty, love and compassion matters. And that, when you turn the same compassion outward, you become someone who matters to others. Because you recognize it. Because you recognize what we all share – our humanity.


© 2023


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