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Us and Them. Where’s Your Focus?

What are we focusing on?

First impressions are very, very fast – science says less than 1/10th of a second.  Snap.  Decisions made.  Does this mean it needs to stay that way?  As the duckrabbit picture shows we can look longer and see more.

How long are we willing to look?

At the most basic level the snap decision will be an ‘us’ or ‘them’ decision.  Is that person one of us or one of them? What I know is that the longer you look the more likely you will see ‘us’.

Our Foothills Fetal Alcohol Society, they are also known as the 101 Centre (over across from George Lane park) and they run Detours, they had a guest speaker, Erik Carter,  in this week who spoke about belonging.

It was powerful and what I took away from it was that it is valuable to focus on our humanity rather than disability.  Not valuable for the disabled, valuable for all of us.  If you are disabled or connected to someone with a disability (and stats show that you likely are) you will get this, she’s not autistic, she’s Sandy who has autism, he’s Bob who happens to be blind.  Even if you are not ‘disabled’ per se. you are so much more than your deficits. Yet we hyper focus on our own and others limitations and differences.  Is this natural? Human nature? Truth is – it’s not natural – it’s learned, read and watch here. Boys get haircut to confuse teacher.

From our parents and from our society we learn to differentiate.  Where once it might have been a valuable survival tool it has now become a barrier to connecting and as we looked at in a previous blog loneliness is a growing problem, where we focus is an antidote to that problem.

The ‘our’ in Our High River and in the New Strategic Plan (more on that next Sunday) suggests that at least by location we are connected in High River.  Our is inclusive, it means we each have a part to play.

And then there’s all of us.  All that we share.  All of us in High River and Area. Are you willing to look longer?

Let’s take it beyond an idea, let’s make it practical, let’s bring OUR to life.

  1. Look for the common – what do you have in common with someone you may see as different?
  2. Ask a question to get to know someone on your street or in your outer circle (at the rink, dance studio, in a store) a little better.
  3. Smile at someone in the community this week that you do not know.

In case you have Kleenex left: