Time Out - 3. Let's Set Priorities

Dear PeaceBuilders,

I have only been in this 'Peace thing' for only 4 years, and I am sorry that I can not personally stop the Kosovo War right now.  But I will tell you what I think I can do.  I will also make some suggestions as to what I think the List can do.

First, some responses to my second Time Out message:

One Member responded privately, 'Quite frankly my thoughts are that PeaceBuilders trend to be a mirror of the world as the world has always been and will perhaps be forever inspite of PeaceBuilders efforts. Have you read Barbara Tuchmans "Distant Mirror"? It is amazing to see how aggressivity is slowly growing inside a group that gave itself the logo "PeaceBuilders". I am glad that the only weapon you have given the PeaceBuilders is the "mouse", otherwise I would be afraid!'

Allan Whitton says, 'Of all the contents in Robert's message these few words caught my attention "....you may wish to identify how your posting relates to peacebuilding."   Two interpretations can be perceived in these words.
#1. Put a title on my posting not just "you may find this interesting...."
#2. Think and read carefully through what it is I am thinking of sending out to members.
Take MY time to make this review, and say what it is I feel is RELEVANT AND WORTHY of other members' time.  This approach may take more of my time in the process of review, but perhaps my postings may better grab the interest of members and make a worthy contribution to actually building peace, justice and love now and for the future.'

Barbara Wolf says, 'Recently too many PeaceBuilders emails are words, volumes of words, with little substance.   The PeaceBuilders list has the characteristic of the 'party line' of the old telephone system.  One person 'rings' and everyone on the line picks up the phone to listen.  The email system is such that we will 'answer the phone'.  We will click to see what is in the email.  We don't want trivial.  We want substance. Or, at least I do.  The list is not a toy.'

Thank you for your comments.  Here is what I know I can do (in order of priority):

1. I can work on helping myself become a better Peace person.  I can educate myself about Peace.  I can improve my own attitude about peace.  I can improve my own behaviours and actions about peace.  (I am a firm believer that 'Peace starts at home'.)

2. I can work on helping my family become better with respect to Peace: education, attitudes, behaviours and actions.

3. I can work on helping my friends, associates and acquaintenances become better at Peace ...

4. I can work on helping my Rotary Club become better at Peace ...

5. I can work on helping my Community become better at Peace ...

6. I can work on helping my Rotary District and Rotary Canada become better at Peace ..

7. I can work on helping my Country become better at Peace ...

8. I can work on helping Rotary International become better at Peace ...

9. I can work on helping my World become better at Peace ...

This is my circle of influence.  Circles actually, like a target (dart) board.  As I get further from the centre, my impacts are less.  So, I tend to spend more time and effort where the payoff is more direct and likely.

A short story about a friend of mine.  He is very well educated, and extremely well prepared.  He can discuss any aspect of almost any topic.  His potential is tremendous.  Unfortunately, he never leaves his house (not even via the Internet).  YOU HAVE TO LEAVE YOUR HOUSE - (sorry to shout, but) you have to get out there and do something, otherwise all the education and preparation and discussion are for no significant good.  This is just to say that 'Talk is cheap, and Action speaks louder than words'.  Also the best way to teach and help, and show your sincerity, is by example.

Sense of Urgency is also key to setting priorities.  Roan Carratu said, 'We are intense, aren't we?  It kinda comes with the territory, actually.  If we felt there was plenty of time, if there were no nuclear weapons, and people dying in war, and steadily increasing environmental threat, we would not be so intense.  But every day, millions of people work full time to make war more dangerous and all inclusive, while there are few of us...'  I agree that time is of the essence:  'A great change in our stewardship of the earth and the life on it, is required, if vast human misery is to be avoided and our global home on this planet is not to be irretrievably mutilated.'  World Scientists Warning to Humanity http://www.pgs.ca/woc/warning.htmNot to mention the real threat of nuclear holocaust, I fear that, within our children's and/or grandchildren's lifetimes, this small planet will hit the limits of its sustainable resources (safe water, air, food, fuel, etc.).  Then things will get real nasty (resources are one of the historic causes of wars).  It will be inescapable, and even the rich will find it a poor way to live (the poor are always the worst hit).  So, Yes, time is of the essence.  We must act now.  All the more reason to be well-grounded in reality, and reflect it in our priority setting.

Where do we, as a List, go from here?  I tend to think that the order of priorities above is most realistic and effective for the List, as well as personally.  For those that are members of organizations other than Rotary, substitute the name of that organization.  I would like to submit these for Members comments and suggestions, with the assurance they can be changed and will evolve over time, as well.  We need to have more focus on what is realistic and attainable. 

How do we sell Peace Building?  That is the $64,000 question (a reference to another old TV show).  (Peace Building in this context is any activity that helps to build peace in our communities and world, not just this List.)

I will follow up on this important question in a later message.  Comments welcome.

Respectfully submitted,
Bob Stewart, List Moderator
Okotoks, Alberta, Canada

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