Lesson 2: The Power of Unity
We are all in this together.
Why is it that we all forget this? We become so wrapped up in our own lives, in our own lessons, that we forget the others who are right there with us. There is a lot of research that has been done about the link that we all share, whether we acknowledge it or not. Scientists have looked at how we are formed and have determined that we all come from the same place in the same way. Our bodies are made of the same materials: carbon, hydrogen, etc. While we hold our unique, individual DNA, human DNA stands apart from plant DNA and animal DNA. We are all connected because at the most basic of levels, we are the same.
Take a look at what happened in the United States after September 11, 2001. Everyone forgot the idea that we were separate individuals and became one entity. We supported each other, we supported our government, we supported our country. We were one. As each year has passed, we have moved back to our individuality, our separateness. “Every man (or woman) for themselves” seems to be the popular motto. We have forgotten, again, that we need each other, we are each other. Our similarities outweigh our differences.
Gettin' good players is easy. Gettin' 'em to play together is the hard part.
Why is it that we need these horrific reminders to bring us together? Isn’t there an easier way? As with all of the Seven Powers, I believe it is a choice that we make; that we must make every day. This choice is about remembering that we are not responsible to carry the world on our shoulders. Remember, God made Adam first and when Adam showed his longing for someone, He created Eve so that they could share the load. We are intended to share everything.
We live in a world of competition-get it before someone else does. There is a better way. We are better than that. That philosophy may have been necessary at one time in our evolution but it is not necessary today. Imagine what would happen if we could find a way to cooperate with each other, instead of competing. As leaders in our communities and in our families, we must show our younger ones what it is to collaborate, to work together. How else will they learn, if not from us?
The family is the heart and soul of the community. Each member of the family must be accepted; they must feel that they are a part of something bigger than themselves. They must feel worthy of that position. To feel worthy, every member of the family must feel safe. They need to know that their feelings and opinions will be heard and appreciated. They must be allowed to participate in family discussions, particularly on issues that relate to them. Unfortunately, their ‘vote’ doesn’t carry the same weight that the adult’s do, simply because the parents are the adults. With more life experiences and maturity, their ‘vote’ must carry more weight, but that does not change the fact that each family member should have the opportunity to share their feelings, their hopes, their dreams, their opinions. They must feel like they matter.
Valuable skills are taught within the family that will be used in the community. Appropriate communication techniques are demonstrated by the parents. When inappropriate techniques are used, the family takes the opportunity to re-train each other; a do-over. Parents work with their children to work toward fully understanding the lessons that are being shared. It is understood that “do as I say, not as I do” is not the method best used to teach. Children learn much more from watching what parents do, so parents use that method-always mindful that little ones are watching. Every family member has their responsibilities. They understand that they are a valuable member of the team. Without them, the team could not function properly. Everyone must carry their load or the team will falter. Family rules are clear and have been fully explained and shared. Rules pertain to safety issues and the family members understand them.
Effective teamwork is all about making a good, well-balanced salad not whipping individuals into a single batch of V8.
Sandra Richardson, OD Consultant
Routines are very important to families. There is a safety that comes from knowing and understanding what to expect. Children, especially, need to know ‘normalcy.’ There is a safety and security that comes with knowing what will happen next. If we don’t create these routines for them, children will create them for themselves and they may not be healthy ones. Routines and rituals are centering. They create a soothing effect on the lower centers of the brain, where life exists. Until these needs are met, no higher learning is possible. Children need to be able to come to count on a specific thing happening at a specific time in a specific way. I always said, “Sleep tight” to my son at the door to his bedroom before turning out the light. His response was always, “Don’t let the bedbugs bite.” It was our routine, it was expected. Even if I was out of town, I called at bedtime and this was our closing to each other. It was normal. This builds trust between you and your children. This is the most powerful gift that you can give them. Without guidance there is no discipline, Becky Bailey says in her book, Conscious Discipline. These routines are important in the home, they’re important in the school or childcare, they’re important in the community.
The ratio of We's to I's is the best indicator of the development of a team.
Lewis B. Ergen
Ask yourself, “Who am I?” This does not mean making a list of everything you are able to do or all the things you are a part of. We understand who we are based on all of the experiences we have had in our lives and our beliefs about those experiences. Our thoughts and feelings affect other’s thoughts and feelings. It is undeniable. Self-esteem is not earned through accomplishments, it is created each moment in how we “see” other people. A friend told me many years ago, we will always find in others what we dislike about ourselves. Seeing the best in others creates worthiness within ourselves. We are connected to others.
We are all unique, not special. To say that we are special implies that we are “better” somehow. That simply is not the case. That we are unique is true. That individual has had unique life experiences. No one in the world is exactly like us. When we each, in our uniqueness, reach out to others in need, it builds self-worth. We feel valuable and worthy. We know that we have our unique place in the world.
When we have our place, when we know that we are unique, we then understand the value of being together as a team. We share the load with one another and we know that each of us has our unique role to play in our family and in our community. We are all “better” because we are all one.