In our complex, automated, and sometimes fragmented world, the human touch is missing. For the first time in modern American history, we have been ordered to be quarantined, keep our distance, and avoid contact with others. After a week, most people were challenged and unaccustomed to live restricted lives without social interaction. It has given us time to examine ourselves and our world without the interruption of everyday life as we once knew it. As a society, we now know that relationships matter more than ever.
With this knowledge, we can go forth with a deeper appreciation of life and the relationships we hold dear, and perhaps some not so dear…i.e. the finicky bank teller who is taking great pains to be accurate which is unimportant to us, but extremely important in the world of finances…or imagine if the airplane pilot is off only .01%; over the course of the long journey it will not land at the correct destination, perhaps off the coast in the sea. We sometimes balk at the .01%, but it does make a difference and could perhaps mean our lives. Recently, with the novel COVID 19, an unknown exposure could/has been fatal.
We all have gifts and talents, and are like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. With just one piece missing, the puzzle is incomplete. So is true with mankind. When people know their unique talent and their part in the world, society runs much more efficiently and harmoniously. Or we could liken this to our own bodies; some of the more ‘unsightly’ organs (i.e. liver) are just as important as our beautiful eyes.
Do we treat members of society in the same way; treating those of higher esteem better than the lowly ‘commoner’? Treating people with respect and kindness is like honey to the recipient, no matter their status, or ethnicity. As Sir Richard Branson quoted: “Respect is how to treat everyone.”
The samurai warrior of ancient Japan lived by a code of ethics known as bushido. The principles of benevolence, respect, and honor are part of this warrior code and a model of how we are to conduct our lives.
Most people, who hear the word ‘samurai,’ envision fierce warriors. Yet respect, even for a defeated foe, was a fundamental underpinning of this ancient warrior code. Actually, the literal meaning of the word samurai is one who serves. To serve is to put aside our own desires in order to assist another in their need. That word respect is defined as having a regard for the feelings of others.
Relationships, as we’re learning, are critical to a community, nation, society, and world. As we examine our world today, perhaps the idea of respect and relationships could use a boost. Maybe this code of bushido can help us get back on the right path.
Lori Tsugawa Whaley