Monday, March 12, 2007

And Death Shall Have No Dominion

A co-worker asked me today what I thought of an e-mail she'd written to promote a St. Patrick's Day 50/50 raffle that was a company fundraiser for a charity. The e-mail included the phrase, "the luck of the Irish" and she was concerned that someone in our very-diverse office might take some politically correct offense.
Flashback about 15 years. My wife and I were getting ready to have our infant sons baptized, with a party at the church afterward. Since we're a mixed marriage - she's Presbyterian, I'm Jewish - this created a dilemma: I wanted my relatives to join the celebration, but would they turn out to be more offended if I invited them to the church than if I didn't? It was one of the too-few times I asked my father for advice, and here's what he said: all you really can do is make a good faith effort to treat people nicely and do what's right. You have no control over how they'll react. (For the record, in the case of the baptism they reacted well. We ended up having almost as many Jews as Presbyterians at the church for the service.)
I leaned in to my co-worker and told her I didn't see anything patently offensive in the e-mail, that all she could do would be to make a good faith effort to treat people nicely and do what's right, and that how they decided to react is something she couldn't control.
She smiled as if I'd given her a great treasure, apparently satisfied that it was sound advice from someone of great wisdom.
And indeed it was.


demandnlilchit said...

I think the world would be a better place if we walked more in other peoples shoes..i.e. religeous beliefs. I think it would be a great idea to learn more about other peoples faiths and beliefs and have them open their minds as well. It's all about having another thing to share, not a thing to go to war over.


helloimkara said...

It is so true that all you can do is your best and how folks react is not something you can control!  Im still working on that life lesson.  Wouldn't this world be a better place if we all were a little kinder, a little less judgemental, and a little more accepting.

Kara :)