Many years ago J.R., a remarkable community organizer was consulting in a northern Inuit community. One night after supper when stories were being told J.R. told a funny one involving his two young children. The room gasped. No one laughed.

Eventually someone asked, “If you have children why aren’t you at home with them?”

J.R. is not alone.

Too many of us travel around talking about what matters as if we knew.

When the truth is that we are searching for what matters too. Or glossing over it. Or avoiding it.

Talented presenters are a joy to behold. They share their precious gifts to our benefit. Some change our lives.

But don’t assume they live what they are talking about. It’s safer to assume they yearn for what they are talking about.

Here are four blessings to offer your speakers, presenters and consultants:

1) Invite them to tell their personal story complete with the same messiness, tensions and contradictions as yours.

2) Surround them with local story tellers. Don’t leave them isolated on a pedestal.

3) Respect their solitude and silence.

4) Extend a kindness to the precious ones they leave back home.

 You may discover that they’ll bless you in return.

Just as J.R. did to his Inuit hosts.

And continues to do.

EH!

I pray that a loving memory exists for them too

The precious ones I overthrew

For an education in the world. ~ Leonard Cohen from his poem “Days of Kindness”

Musical accompaniment this post is Rose Coloured Frames by Calgary’s multi-talented Mariel Buckley. This one’s a classic. Think Roseanne Cash and Bruce Springsteen in one person. Great video too. You’ll recognize yourself in it. Do support her music.

Hey Calgary – her new album release is tomorrow, Friday May 4th.

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Visit socialchangequotes.com to browse Canada’s largest collection of quotes about social change, curated by Al Etmanski.

One Comment

  1. Doug Hayman

    Thank you for these thoughtful words Al. Best to you.

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