Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Everything Takes a Village

Yesterday, I was on my way to a meeting related to healthcare for seniors, which coincided with a CBC radio program talking about suicide amidst the older demographic  A young woman was talking about her 68-year-old father who committed suicide because of personal issues and because he was over $100,000 in debt.

The past couple of weeks have been filled with "happenstances" such as this that have really caused me to think about the state of our society.  The universal message being sent my way is clear - it's time to stop thinking about ourselves and to start thinking about others.

We are living in a time that will make history on so many fronts -
  • the second great recession that puts huge demands on all of us personally and professionally,
  • the conscious decision to engage in single parenthood (40% of children in the U.S. are born to unmarried women),
  • a shift in the balance of power in the household, as women begin to have as much or greater earning potential than their male partners,
  • an increasing aging population that either wants or needs to find work beyond the age of 65, and needs to be looked after as it ages and ails.  

The crux of the matter is this - if we focus only on ourselves and our personal situations, we are bound to all suffer personally, professionally and as a society. 

Latch-key kids, single parents, older people and entire families need to know that there is a support system outside of their own home that they can rely on - a neighbour, a school secretary, a fellow parent, a colleague.

Companies need to shift their focus from the bottom line to attracting, keeping and nurturing their best employees who will help them grow the business, or lose to the competition that does. 

It's up to all of us to figure out what we can do to make the situation better for everyone - not just the individual - but our organizations, our people, our society.  Only when we step out of ourselves and put ourselves in someone else's shoes can all of our futures be improved. 

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