There’s a time to speak & a time to listen.
There’s a time to reflect & a time to act
Last week was for reflection. Today’s for action.
Based on a traumatic incident I had while in the ICU, in the first of this 3 series post I talked about the power of praxis. Praxis is cycling back & forth between action & reflection. I use it when designing my workshops, but it’s also a great tool for wrapping your head around the many social changes our world needs.
Our world needs you to reflect on the batcrap craziness that is becoming normal.
And our world needs you take action on that batcrap craziness.
Last week I gave you some tools for reflection. On today’s menu is stepping up to bat & taking action.
Action aimed at effecting social change is:
- Being an ally ~ be a voice & lend support to issues & causes where you hold more power & privilege. Make sure though that you have permission to intervene & refrain from giving advice. Check out this excellent interview with Parker Palmer about The Gift of Presence, The Perils of Advice. (Thanks to reader Jean for sending me this fab resource.)
- Seeking allies when you need them because no one can shoulder the burdens of social change alone.
- Speaking up, when you see something wrong, even when your gut is in a knot & your throat is thick with fear. Even when your words aren’t cooperating or coming easily …. say … something. Because ‘our lives begin and end the day we become silent about the things that matter.’ –Martin Luther King paraphrased.
- Wrap your head around your power & privilege & move on. For example read I am white. That’s all you know about me. Am I privileged based on that alone and assuming I am, should I feel guilt and what should I do about it?
Need some more specific ways to take action?
- No one is born sexist or racist. This stuff is learned. Start early. When my kids were little I made a point of reading them social change books. Here’s a partial list. (As my ‘babies’ are now 15 & 20 these books are now classics. I’d love to hear updates if you have some.)
- Not sure what to say when you witness a racist incident? Because silence is bad as approval Films for Action recommends these steps: stand beside & assist the victim (to regain their composure, get them water etc.), film & report the incident, & tackle the culture of racism.
- Be diligent in how you play with & what you say to little kids. For example calling little girls princesses & otherwise reinforcing their delicacy & appearance is a no go. From the BBC, watch what happens when babies genders are switched (through gendered clothing) & adults are invited to play with them.
- Are you rolling your eyes & thinking this stuff’s no big deal? From Fast Company, check out how two women entrepreneurs created a fake male cofounder in order to dodge sexism. True dat.
- If you have a life partner, consider what you call them. I’ve referred to my husband as my partner for years. It’s a small way I can be an ally in the fight against homophobia. It works. After an all day workshop I had one older woman come up to me & say ‘Dear, are you gay? We’ve been wondering all day.’ It was a fabulous opportunity to do some awareness raising.
- Having a hard time wrapping your head around all the hullaballoo around mental health, another area that’s rife with judgement? Read Daniel Smith’s Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety. It’s a graphic read & front row seat to what it’s like to suffer from a significant mental health issue.
- Is religious tolerance & acceptance your thing? Consider getting this bumper sticker that takes pride of place on my car. For a bunch of complicated reasons, my kids have gone to an evangelical Christian school here in Kenya. We are neither evangelical nor Christian. And while the school has been fabulous in many ways, religious intolerance has reared its head. My bumper sticker is a simple way to get folks thinking. And it hasn’t been torn off like one I had on my car decades ago, which was ‘women are natural born leaders, you’re following one now.’
There’s so much batcrap craziness in the world right now, simply pick an issue that calls your curiousity & get going.
Remember our recipe: action + reflection = praxis & social change. Hang out in your head & reflect, then get up off the couch & take action. Rinse. Repeat.
And when you need some inspiration? Remember this excerpt from Good Bones, Maggie Smith
Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful.
This place, our world, needs you, so get going to restore, uncover & create beauty.
Stay tuned for next week’s post where I close the 3 part series with some final thoughts.
And do let me know by leaving a comment below:
- which of the above you tried &/or
- what issue you’re most called to act on & how