As I reflect on the upcoming year, I am reminded of all the individuals, families, or groups that I will be meeting and working with. Because I work with such a diverse population, it is necessary for me to relate and communicate in a compassionate manner.
Compassionate communication creates the possibility for groups and individuals with different and opposing perspectives to accomplish common tasks when working on the same team.
If practiced regularly it is clear to me that communicating and relating from a place of compassion would bear fruit among our civic, religious, and other public leaders. Recently, state-wide and national figures vying for future public and government roles have demonstrated an inability to communicate and relate in a compassionate manner with anyone who might not agree with their perspective. As I have witnessed this failing in our civic, religious, and public leaders, I am concerned about the life lessons such behavior models to our children and the rest of the world.
In effect, the behavior that is being promoted among national civic or religious leaders celebrates verbal insults and aggressive or harmful language toward anyone who disagrees with a particular point of view. As one member of our local community, I feel that we can do better in modeling productive and positive modes of communication and relating.
If all members of a community are committed to compassionate communication, bad behavior and disruptive personalities will not overshadow the positive impact of relating to one another in a compassionate manner. When a group communicates compassionately individuals recognize that their grievances will be heard and the community leaders will work as facilitators and mediators to reach a mutual resolution between opposing perspectives.
Imagine for a moment that our local community practices compassionate communication at all levels of civic and religious life. Individual members of this community would enjoy genuine trust between neighbors, coworkers, civic, and religious leaders.
Compassionate communication can cultivate a sense of safety where all members of the community, regardless of economic, religious, cultural, or gender status, knew that they had much to contribute to the life and future of Smithville and DeKalb County.
That is the type of community I wish to provide for my children, visitors, and newly resettled residents. Blessings of the New Year to each of you, and may 2016 bring you More Life and More Joy!
Rev. Mark C. Pafford
Chaplain and Minister