You have probably heard the axiom that growth and change require discomfort. I don't know about you, but I am not often willing to feel uncomfortable - no matter the potential positive result. For me, the word "discomfort" sounds painful, coercive, and frankly reminiscent of sitting in a dentist's chair.
I prefer to use the word "challenging" instead. A challenge, foremost, represents freedom and the opportunity to explore all the available options - not as something to fight against, but something to fight for.
Highlighting this distinction in language brings me directly to the vitally important conversations that are occurring around the country right now. I believe that the ultimate goals of the Black Lives Matter movement, and the widespread call for systemic change for black and brown people, the 98%, LGBTQIA+ folks, refugees, and those suffering from mental illness, can only happen by providing a set of circumstances that allow for the freedom to choose to have personal fundamental belief systems challenged.
We know that we can not force someone to change their mind - we cannot argue or ridicule them into seeing a non-racist, non-xenophobic, non-misogynistic, non-homophobic, compassionately, empathetic point of view. When people feel like they are strong-armed or guilted into change, it instigates defensive postures, resentment, and ultimately hatred against those that they perceive forced the adaptation. Which often breeds violence, accomplishing the exact opposite of the initial intention.
I believe our best way forward is to shine a very bright light on all of the cultural barriers that prevent everyone from living a life free from systemic injustice, prejudice, and bigotry. Then present it as a challenge for all of us to problem solve and work on, together - freely. I will argue that at the end of the day, almost everyone wants to feel like they are an important part of a community and that they had a hand in creating something valuable and worthwhile.
And, then comes the most important piece of this entire process, we absolutely need to recognize and normalize the efforts and value of changing one's mind. After all, change begets growth and learning - the two things that humans are perfectly designed to do.
In a bit over a week, we will open the doors to both, DRC-Canton and DRC-East in Lawrenceville, for a new year sure to be filled with adventures and challenges. If you are still conflicted about what you and your family are doing, or are unhappy with the choice you made, get in touch. We are here to help you navigate all your options.