Extra Points: When Silence Isn’t Golden

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40Pope Francis’s homily on Palm Sunday included an exhortation to the youth of the world to “keep shouting.” Without referencing any particular event, but rather proclaiming a global message, Pope Francis exclaimed, “The temptation to silence youth has always existed…Dear young people, you have it in you to shout; It is up to you not to keep quiet. Even if others keep quiet, if we older people and leaders, some corrupt, keep quiet, if the whole world keeps quiet and loses its joy, I ask you: Will you cry out?” It seems the pontiff is saying that silence isn’t always golden.

The message isn’t just for youth, but for us adults as well. We cannot keep silent when we see injustice in the workplace, whether it be discrimination, inequity in pay, or harassment. We can’t keep silent when we see someone struggling at work and we can help; when we see see opportunities to improve the condition of others and have it within our own voice or actions to accept that opportunity. How often are adults turning a blind eye to those in the workplace – both employees and co-workers – because it’s inconvenient or uncomfortable?

Over this past weekend, a client of mine didn’t remain silent. He witnessed a car in the road on fire and the driver too much in shock to leave. He pulled over, left his wife and young daughters in the car, and rushed to help. Between him and two other men, they became the first responders until the professionals arrived, and likely saved a life. Amazingly, there were other cars that didn’t stop to even offer any assistance; rather many to stop and take photos with their mobile phones of the scene probably to post on social media. How many of us walk by and don’t stop to help another human, but rather remain silent and keep walking because it’s too much trouble?

One last thought. This past week, a friend of mine named Charlie passed away. I’ve known Charlie for a long time and over the years, he’s emailed me personally in response to this very newsletter; always with a kind word, encouragement, and a bit of humor that was indicative of his joyful personality. I will miss Charlie a lot. Charlie never remained silent when it came to cultivating and deepening relationships with both family and friends. How many of us find ourselves “silently” too busy to send a brief note or make a call to people we really care about, hoping that sharing on social media is good enough? One thing I take away from my friendship with Charlie is that relationships are the responsibility of each of us and silence isn’t golden, but a steward of complacency.

Silence has it’s place. However in our lives – both personal and professional – we have a unique connection with our fellow humans. That connection allows for us to make our voice heard to improve the lives and conditions of others. Don’t allow fear or apathy silence your voice. Be ready to “shout” for a cause, a movement, or another human being. That’s part of the secret sauce in living an unleashed life.

Quote of the Week:

“Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

~ Dylan Thomas

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