Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Go Ahead be a Dick

Dick is the custodian for our building (which has four apartments) and the owner's home which he lives beneath. He also happens to be one of the best people I have met in Grenada. He could teach us all a thing or two.

Like many of his generation he grew up with the Rasta culture and has kept parts of this culture close to him.
Dick & Brent

People as equals- One of things he has kept is seeing all people as connected. So I am "my sister" and Brent is "my brother". Dick will often start by saying "My brother..." By starting a conversation this way, he positions us as strongly connected, related to each other. In Rasta culture this is taken one step further by saying "I and I" instead of "you and me". In this sense there is no separation between the two people, they are one before Jah (God).

Around the island sometimes Brent will be called "boss" which is a remnant from the colonial era where whites were slave owners/traders and held positions of power. It is the exact opposite of the concept of brother/sister. It literally sets one person up above another. We both cringe when we hear this. When people say this they are never saying it in a derogatory way, it is just the first thing that comes to mind when seeing a white man you don't know.

Respect- So a typical greeting from Dick will be "My Brother! Respect, respect." The proper response to this is "Respect". When I am facilitating leadership courses we will often discuss what our intentions are in our interactions. By starting this way Dick is laying out his intentions in our conversation. The response then lays out my intent. The word respect will permeate through the entire conversation and always ends it.

In North American culture we often talk about earning respect. I find here it is freely given, even if it is undue, it is not withheld. I read something yesterday that said "Their karma is how they treat you, your karma is how you treat them." In this way Dick always has good karma or good energy around him.

Peace and Love- Another phrase that Dick will use when greeting us is Peace and Love. I have another friend whose closing instead of "sincerely" is "1Love". I remember thinking, no one talks like this! But people do! They wish each other peace and love, they offer each other peace and love.

What if? Imagine what a different world it would be if we started our interactions with respect and laying out our intentions so that there is no confusion or hidden agendas.

What if we believe that we were talking to equals and not talking down to someone or needing to use positional power to feel heard?

Lastly what if we went into those interactions with a desire to promote peace and love? Too often we go into interactions to win. But when there is a winner, there is a loser and that person carries that loss with them. Too often people protect themselves from others instead of opening themselves up.

So go ahead be a Dick. Spread peace and love, communicate openly and lead with positive intention.

While this is a silly version of this notion, it makes me smile every time!

Respect man! 

1 comment: