Posted by: joshjasper | June 20, 2010

We Already Know How to End Violence

     Valuable lessons are taught every day; you need only be aware of your surroundings.  With that said, many of the most important lessons I’ve learned in life were from people that were not even aware of the impact that they were making.  Take for instance the children we serve.  On any given day you can find a number of children in our lobby waiting to be seen by their counselors.  Most often the people that wait in our lobby are there because of what a trusted male in their lives has done to them.  I often assume that when I walk through our lobby, people may direct the fear and pain they feel from their abuse toward me because I am a man.  It is the children that teach me differently though.  It’s the kids that stop by my office to say hello or that ask to meet with Matt for an educational program that teach me the value of not underestimating the human spirit. 

     Not only are life lessons taught daily, but the most important ones seem to repeat themselves regularly.  I first heard about the Golden Rule from my parents, well before I truly appreciated its importance.  Sister Anne repeated the rule daily when I was at St. Joe’s in Bankston, and now most recently, while bound to crutches and a cast due to a torn Achilles tendon, I’ve witnessed a number of incredible people doing for others-things that they would hope would might be done for them sometime.   More specifically, individuals have gone out of their way to help me due to my current lack of mobility.  What strikes me most about these acts of kindness is how much each act has stayed with me.  For example, I remember the person by name at the grocery store that helped me to the car in the pouring rain, with my donuts and coffee, for an early morning meeting.   I left the store that day wondering about him, curious as to what makes someone commit such a selfless act.  I only hoped that he knew how much I truly appreciated him.

     I’ve been giving a lot of thought lately to our work; ensuring that we are delivering services that are the most effective and capable of realizing our vision of a community free of violence.  This reflection has brought me to a very simple realization.  It occurred to me that all of the violence prevention programs and presentations mean nothing if we do not all have the same core beliefs.  I recently asked members of a community volunteer group to submit photos and captions to the Telegraph Herald for Father’s Day, detailing what they thought it meant to be a great father.  After reviewing what had been submitted, it was clear to me that our community does not need one of our Violence Prevention Educators to provide a presentation on “Healthy Relationships” to in fact end violence.  Judging by what was shared from the volunteers, we already know what must be done. 

     During this Father’s Day weekend I ask that you take a moment to truly appreciate the role you play in the lives of so many.  People are in fact watching and learning from your example.  We don’t learn the most important lessons in life from a book or in a classroom.  Rather, we learn the good stuff, the stuff that will one day put me out of a job, from you.

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