My 12 year-old son asked me a question on the long weekend: if I could make a wish to eliminate one of these three global problems entirely, what would I wish for?
- End all war.
- Stop global warming.
- Cease all forms of discrimination.
What a gift he gave me! It made me think about what I truly believe because I would want all three of these problems to be eradicated. It offered me the chance to think deeply and quickly to respond.
Before you read on, I offer you the opportunity to ponder this question for yourself. Which would you eradicate? Do you know why you chose this?
My response was to cease all forms of discrimination. A lack of empathy, acceptance and openness to diversity is ultimately the cause of many conflicts, in private and public spaces. I believe these deficits are at the heart of the fear that keeps discrimination alive in all societies.
Imagine being open to another person’s point of view, without judgment, so that you have an appreciation of the other’s true experience. Imagine being listened to in such a way that you are really heard. Imagine these skills being used by all people in government, workplaces, schools and households. How different would be the expression of alternate points of view? Would conflict as we experience it today even exist?
With a lack of discrimination, the most influential decision-making forums would be comprised of a far better representation of the communities they serve. There would be more women participating in key decision-making roles as well as more people from currently perceived minority groups. We know from experience and research that decision-making forums with greater diversity make better decisions that serve their constituents better. For example, the speakers at the UN International Women’s Day Breakfast shared that once women become a part of the decision-making governing group in the refugee camp the high level of conflict and violence in the camp declines.
Imagine living and working in places where respect is the norm and violence non-existent. That is the world I want to live in. It is the world I try to create through my life’s work – be it as a parent raising three sons to be whole human beings; be it as a social entrepreneur to enable human flourishing and global wellbeing; be it as a partner joining together with purpose to support the journey of life; be it as a friend sharing my life and endeavours to uplift another life.
From where I stand, if discrimination is eradicated then wars won’t happen because people will listen to seek to understand and will be open to (not fearful of) difference. In such a world we would also be able to deal with global warming because our major decision-making forums and institutions will make better decisions. Upholding diversity will make a world of difference to our world – it will end so much suffering.
My wonderful son just reaffirmed to me what is important. His challenge has shone the brightest spotlight onto why I do what I do every day through the act of living – my purpose is to enable people to live with greater social, emotional and mental wellbeing to enable communities, societies and this whole world to become more peaceful.
As part of this purposeful pathway I am tackling discrimination and violence against women. This has opened doors for me to be become involved in some uplifting global events, such as the Women of the World Festival (WOW) at the Brisbane Powerhouse this weekend (Friday 6 April – Sunday 8 April). I feel so privileged to be able to offer my resources to enable others to live a little more courageously, safer, more peacefully, healthier than they had done in a previous moment.