December is a month full of anticipation, excitement and fear. We anticipate the fellowship of family, the excitement of the Holidays and fear the rapidly approaching end of the year. In our daily interactions we may also experience these same emotions. The anticipation of meeting new people, coupled with the excitement of developing a connection with friends and colleagues seems like a wonderful experience. However, excitement can quickly give way to fear especially when we are confronted with the reality that everyone does not think, act, or share the same belief system(s) that we hold dear —  Eeek!

One of the great challenges facing each of us is to find and maintain a balance in our ever changing world. Our belief systems and cultural norms need to fit a more mutually inclusive society. Diversity makes us question,  “how to hold fast to one’s sacred ideals and show respect for the beliefs of other’s?”

Our pursuit of this thing called Balance is actually not as difficult to achieve as one might imagine. I  believe that Balance is one of life’s great gifts and if achieved not only preserves what is important but also leaves space to value others, act in right and appropriate ways and teaches one to respect what others hold dear as well.

Balance requires understanding and learning to accept the position of people who differ from us.  This balance is a bridge building exercise that enhances our lives and our communities.

There are three ways that should help us build bridges of respect and understanding and achieve balance in this area. First, we must learn to keep an open mind. Our minds, much like parachutes, work best when they’re open. Second, we can achieve balance by refusing to impose our opinions and beliefs on others.  Finally, learning to respect and accept the beliefs of other’s is powerful because it places a high value on the importance of strong, healthy, diverse relationships.

I hope that each of us work to find balance in our beliefs and strength to embrace people who are different from us.

G.Jerome DeCarlo II  – Youth Outreach Specialist