In the follow-up to our discussions on Management Challenges of 21st century,we had an extended discussion on ways to involve in the community, which will give a better belonging to the community which nurtures you.
In his book- Half Time- Bob Buford talks about the need to reset one’s priorities in second half of life and move from success to significance. In some discussions I had with expatriates in Libya, their mindset was one of trying to save more and send back and it was difficult to find someone who wanted to give-belong to the local community here. Trying to listen to their story, from their point of view, while nudging them towards trying to see areas where they can contribute with significance, rather than just be a money-making machine has been an uphill task.
THE MUSEUM SOCIETY..ways to stretch the mind
The subgroup of museum walks has one great member, a fellow radiologist, who has a taste for arts, music, performing arts, and appreciates with sensitivity the different nuances of these works. Getting to know the impressionist painters better, in a walk through Art Institute of Chicago also helped us know each other better. That was the year when the British Museum had loaned Caravaggio’s famous painting-Supper at Emmaus to AIC. We heard the in-depth discussions on the moment when those having dinner realize that the person with whom they are sitting is Christ. We then walked to Fullerton Hall, a place of great significance for Hindus as this was the hall where Swami Vivekananda addressed the World Congress of Religions in 1893. We attended a poetry session in which Lord Tennyson’s poems were being recited. These experiences made us a bit closer to different currents,
Recalling Emily Dickinson’s poem
HOPE’ IS THE THING WITH FEATHERS
‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—
And sweetest—in the Gale is heard—
And sore must be the storm—
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm—
I’ve heard it in the chilliest land
And on the strangest Sea—
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb—of Me.
THE WALKS …to walk through the debates
Mentoring is a complex form of volunteering which can help give back to the community which nurtures you, and also deepen one’s humanity.
“I am not Bill Gates” came a reply to a suggestion that there are many ways in which one can contribute, and even a non-medico if he takes interest, can start learning about public health issues like Polio and HIV.
“Can you be a good friend to ten people? That does not take much money, but will definitely need a commitment of time and application-attitude of trying to understand the situation and perspective and not to try to superimpose one’s own views or to use their story to take off for one’s own.” These are issues in self management, relationship responsibility which will deepen one’s perspective.
In the follow-up to this, we decided to help a child write an essay.
How did trying to teach the child change you?
This was a mentoring question which I asked, trying to elicit a response out of the routine talk of work, money transfer or security situation which tends to engulf the content of thought of many expatriate workers.
The answers were enriching.
While initially the knee-jerk response was – I don’t know, on being told to talk about anniversaries like Independence day, or tell one folk tale from one’s culture or help write an essay on a prominent figure of the country (Like Mahatma Gandhi of India or Kwame Nkrumah, of Ghana-former Gold Coast).
Nkrumah- An influential 20th-century advocate of Pan-Africanism, he was a founding member of the Organisation of African Unity and was the winner of the Lenin Peace Prize in 1963. He saw himself as an African Lenin.
EMPTYING THE CUP
These were some of the discussions, leading to an attempt to –Empty one’s cup- so that something of significance can be filled into it.