By Rosemary Smith, Managing Director of Getting Better Foundation
As I meet with educators all over the world about their fears for students’ schooling since the pandemic, racial tensions, polarization of communities, and vaccination envy or mistrust, I feel compelled to share some solutions.
Consider these meditations: “Radical Truth” and “Radical Openmindedness”. Coined by the most successful asset manager of the 20th century, Ray Dalio employs these principles when hiring people to join his Bridgewater Associates team. I might add to these “Radical Acceptance”. Dr. Delaney Ruston, of “Screenagers” fame, encourages us to “Radically Accept… that life is different now. For some, that means not so great. It. Just. Is.” Radical Acceptance means just that – accept it, deal with it. Embrace it. In her book, “Radical Optimism”, Beatrice Bruteau claims that in order for our world to journey toward peace, we have to adopt optimism that exceeds panic, exceeds anxiety, exceeds illness, exceeds conflict, exceeds the troubling times we are living in. It is only in embracing our situation, our differences, and radically accepting them, that we learn to trust one another, build a bridge with trust in a higher awareness, empathize with others’ sufferings, and work together toward progress in solving the more important problems of our world.
When one of our kids was going through a hard time, a psychologist taught us to understand just how temporary feelings and situations truly are. Radical Acceptance led us to acknowledging his feelings as truth. Radical Openmindedness led us to see that our son’s feelings were temporary and treatable. Radical Truth helped us believe in the science that would help him grow through his experience. Radical Optimism told us he would be okay, and grow up to be a happy, healthy, well-adjusted adult.
If we adopt these mantras, we may notice feelings of connectedness – connections to all people struggling… students, teachers, healthcare workers, patients, policemen and women, politicians, constituents.
Dr. Ruston continues to say “Radical Acceptance does not mean Radical Inertia. Not at all.” We can radically accept that COVID, and BlackLivesMatter, and LGBTQ, and MeToo, and climate change issues are challenging. We can continue to think creatively about solutions – if we are Radically Optimistic about our futures. Either way, we’re going to be together… somehow… in some fashion. Why not for good?
Resources abound to help us identify honest and good things to share. Check out www.gettingbetterfoundation.org for ideas and resources. Better yet, take 90 minutes to watch “Trust Me”, a compelling documentary laden with personal stories where a lack of media literacy led to disastrous events, and expert commentary to help guide us in prevention and progress. It may just be the best 90 minutes of your year. And, just what our world needs to be “Radically Trustworthy”. www.trustmedocumentary.com