“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Rotary International has designated April as “Maternal and Child Health” month. Lori Cloutier from the Rotary Club of Poulsbo will be presenting a session at the Rotary International Convention in Melbourne and at the District 5020 Training and Conference about the negative effects that plastics are having on maternal and child health.
Her talk is something you do not want to miss. It is persuasive and eye opening. What makes Lori’s presentation unique is her prescription for the action that Rotary clubs can take. She suggests that we model the solution by stop the use of plastic in our clubs. If Rotary clubs and Rotarians demonstrate through our actions how to move away from the use of plastics, it will spread.
That is an excellent formula for Rotary clubs and Rotarians on many fronts. If we make a commitment to show our dedication through our actions, we not only have the moral right to suggest that others follow our lead, but we can also influence that change.
Take public civility for example.
It is becoming almost cliché to point out that North American society is becoming more divided. More and more people only associate with people who hold the same beliefs, whether on social media, in the workplace or amongst acquaintances. People who do not hold the same views become the “unknown”, resulting in suspicion, fear, and demonization. One side refuses to be associated with anyone who isn’t a part of their “tribe”. The other howls to cancel any speaker who doesn’t fall in line.
Rotary is an oasis in this desert of polarization. We have members of all faiths, political views, and beliefs who coexist in the common cause of service above self.
Rotary has had a goal of creating peace in the world since the 1914 Rotary International Convention approved a proposal that Rotary use its influence to maintain peace among the nations of the world. We have built on that focus on peace ever since, including through our Rotary Peace Centers.
Now is not the time to abandon that history and allow the language of division to creep into Rotary discourse. Perhaps now is the time to invite a person to become a Rotarian who sees the world from a different perspective than you. You will broaden your own world view and create a small step to a more peaceful world.
We can set an example to our communities and to the world, whether it is working toward protecting mothers and children through the reduction of use of plastic or whether it is our ability to welcome the diverse views of our community into our midst in a respectful and accommodating manner.
“Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.” Albert Einstein