After the recent flooding in the Midwest, I had to scoff at a politician who claimed that there were towns totally destroyed that would never exist again. Although this is possible, this politician clearly does not understand the mindset and determination of Americans.

 

Examples From History

 

If we look back in time, Chicago rebuilt after a major fire destroyed over 17,000 buildings in the 1870s and San Francisco came back stronger than ever after a 7.9 earthquake hit in 1906. More recently New Orleans is rebounding from Hurricane Katrina. Likewise, Joplin, Missouri is on the mend after a devastating F5 tornado destroyed a nearly mile-wide swath when it plowed through the southern part of the city eight years ago.

 

In all these cases, people died and property was destroyed, but the community survived. The same can be said of countless communities across the country. The key to their recovery is the people. People coming together to help one another is a way of life for many Americans. They fight for their communities even if politicians don’t realize it. Human resiliency should never be underestimated.

 

I can tell you that my father and father-in-law are prime examples of people who would be there any time for anyone. And, there are countless others like them. During the recent Nebraska flooding, for example, a farmer lost his life when he was taking his tractor out to help someone in need.

 

A Little Help

 

People overcome tragedy on a regular basis. Some get more attention through the media than others, but that does not diminish the effort. There are millions of situations where people help each other every day. It can be as simple as the neighbor who clears another neighbor’s sidewalk and drive after a snowstorm. We’ve had neighbors do this for us and vice versa. The neighbor of my father-in-law offered a portable heater upon learning that he needed something to heat his back porch to keep stuff from freezing.

 

A Lot of Help

 

Sometimes the help is more substantial. For example, in his earlier years, my father-in-law raced to the scene of a fire to save a family’s home, took a tractor through two-feet of snow to get mail for the entire neighborhood, and did mechanic work on a semi on Christmas Eve so that the driver could get home to be with his family for Christmas.

 

Other times people risk and sometimes lose their life to save a friend, a neighbor, or even a stranger. People do this for each other. It is human nature to help those around you who are in need.

 

If we stop for a moment, each of us can recall with examples of how someone has helped our families or us. Likewise, we can remember ways we have helped others.

 

Gratitude

 

Even though there are times it is challenging to express gratitude, especially when the gift is anonymous, I believe most of us are grateful for those that help. Most of us have seen heart-warming videos of someone graciously giving their time and effort to help others in need. Those videos are very touching to us as a third-party. The person who was the recipient of the help, is likely extremely touched and grateful.

 

I for one am very grateful for human resiliency. I am proud to be a part of a community and a country where people help others in times of need. The world could be an even better place if we focused more on the wonderful gift of human resiliency.

 

 

 

 

As you may have noticed, this year we’ve shifted the focus of our blog posts and re-titled it Connecting. We have chosen this focus because everything in existence involves making connections. Those of you who enjoyed our Pay Attention blog or our Imagine If blog need not worry as both concepts will be found within Connecting.

 

Flavors of Connections

 

Connections come in many flavors.   There are things where the connection is physical and obvious, such as, a fingernail is clearly attached to a finger, the finger to the hand, the hand to the wrist, etc. These connections are observable to the naked eye. A scientist might, however, describe these connections with more precision and in ways that are not visible without special equipment. Those descriptions are also physical. The details are just not obvious to the casual observer.

 

Similarly, there are connections that are emotional, such as, connecting Christmas with family. A particular home or set of activities may be involved, but no physical connection exists. Yet, when you think of Christmas, you might immediately think of being with family.

 

Similarly, you might associate both horses and tractors with transportation. Unless you are talking about a horse drawn carriage, there isn’t a physical connection. My Grandfather might have made an emotional tie between the two because he loved his horses and was heartbroken when they were replaced by motorized equipment. However, most of us make this connection because of something we learned – a mental connection.

 

Lastly, connections can be spiritual.   The power of prayer is an excellent example for those that believe. It can’t be empirically proven, but prayer seems to perform miracles.

 

Connection Game

 

Connections go far deeper and cover many more situations than are initially obvious in the above scenarios. By playing a simple game we play with students to teach creative problem solving, you can begin to see how everything is connected. That game consists of searching for as many connections as you can between two seemingly unrelated objects, ideas, beliefs, etc. For example, how is a dog related to a banana? If you don’t come up with something initially, challenge yourself. We have yet to find any two things without a connection.

 

More The Same Than Different

 

The world today teaches people to see the differences, yet things are more connected than they are different. If you look at two different people, for example, they may look very different based on gender, race, height, etc.; however, humans share more than 99.9% of the same DNA. So, there is biological connectivity between all human beings that goes far deeper than physical characteristics.

 

What about our beliefs? Although most the time you wouldn’t know it, there is a significant amount of connectivity in our personal, political, and religious ideologies. For instance, most people believe in the concept of family. Now, some believe in monogamy while others believe in plural marriage. Still, at the core is the idea of family. Likewise, most religions believe in a higher power or universal power giving life to the idea that there is something more.

 

And, lastly we arrive at the dreaded politics. No matter your political views it is guaranteed that there are people with your general set of beliefs that are truly working toward what they believe to be the good of the people and the good of the country. It is equally true that there are others who are working toward their own power and not the good of anyone else. Those working for good may disagree on how to achieve the goals, but they share more goals than most people realize. The challenge is to find the connections and focus on them instead of focusing on the disagreements.

 

Pay Attention

 

As you can see in these few examples, everything in life involves connections. Those connections range from the obvious to the overlooked to the ones that you really need to think about and consider. Once you are paying attention and open to seeing connections, they will start jumping out at you from every angle. You might even start imaging what life would be like if we focused on the commonality and connections instead the differences.

 

Read our new blogs post each Tuesday and Friday to get a glimpse into some of the connections that we see around us!

 

 

Add your answer to the Dog-Banana Challenge in the comments.

Message us to get our answers.

 

 

 

You may be familiar with the idea that everything is connected in six or fewer steps. This is not a new idea, but it is an idea that has been debated and studied. Arguments have arisen about whether it is technically accurate. However, the concept that we live in a small world that is very connected is accurate.

Often people view six-degrees of separation with people as the ability to make a chain of friends/relatives between two people with a maximum of six steps. For instance, Bob might know Sue. Sue knows Mary. And, Mary knows Tom. Thus, Bob and Tom are connected with only a few steps.

Other types of Connections

This type of connection, however, is only one type of connection between people. Many other types of connections exist. For instance, if two women are mothers, they share the connection of motherhood. Likewise, if two people are engineers, they share the connection of their profession.

Connections between people are unlimited. In fact, people are more connected and alike than they are different. This is due, in part, to the fact that people share 99.9% of the same DNA, which accounts for similarities in physical characteristics, personalities, and behaviors.

There are countless other ways that two individuals can be connected. They may share beliefs, interests, hobbies, culture, or family traditions. Even two very different people from the opposite sides of the globe who live in completely different cultures and are in different socioeconomic classes can find something (and likely many things) in common if they take time to get to know each other.

A Challenge

If you are up for a challenge, pick someone you don’t know well. Talk to them and see how many different connections you share. By doing so, you will learn more about others, expand your connections, and possibly even learn more about who you really are!