Monday, July 10, 2017

Proceed With Caution, Kindness, and If Required--Run

We were following the road beneath Mytilini castle when we turned and saw a pack of dogs chasing a  motorcycle. When it passed, the dogs locked eyes on us.

Their barks and aggressive stances were enough to make Tony ask, "Should we turn around?"

"No, they'll be fine if we approach them in the right way."

I started calling to them in my sweet poochie voice. I crouched, lowered my hand, and sure enough they went into man's best friend mode.

Nothing is quite as frightening as facing unknown dogs, a bear, or even a hostile group of people. They all ignite adrenalin, prick at our fears, put us in the mode of fight or flight. When I noticed a colleague's child was paralyzed with fear from the approaching dog of another colleague,  knowing the dog was friendly, I taught him some skills. When he practiced, when he saw how it worked for both child and canine, he relaxed his tense body. No child should have such fear of a dog.

No human being should have such fear of another human...

~When I watched the news of Mike Pence's visit to the North/South Korea DMZ, he stopped at the appropriate distance and observed.

How I wished he could have just walked on over and shook hands with the soldiers. Called out in his sweet poochie voice, the voice of humanity, Hello guys, how are you doing? Folks treating ya nice?

How many rumors of wars, hostilities, and wars could have been avoided if the leaders had just stepped across the line, shook someone's hand, and chatted over tea and biscuits?

Tony and I were once faced with a strange hostility. A disgruntled employee sent Tony a death threat. When he consulted campus security, they told him to be watchful, keep the curtains drawn, in essence: be afraid.

Instead of retreating in fear, accepting a way of life, I called the man's wife. I crossed the line, we talked, she made a plan. The man got help. Our lives were spared the heartache that might have come if we'd stayed on our own sides of the fence.

I saw a beautiful video (which I cannot find) that depicts a desperate man who enters a building wielding a weapon. The security guard talks him into surrendering and then embraces him. The man breaks down and shares the burdens that drove him to act.

Approaching with caution and kindness prevented bloodshed.

Unfortunately, this short post ends with a caveat and the 1773 wisdom of Simeon Howard.

The caveat: dogs do bite, bears attack, and people pull triggers. Prudence in approach is paramount. If it is necessary to proceed, do so with caution, kindness, and if required--run.

The wisdom: "When one man's liberty is attacked it threatened, he is first to try gentle methods for his safety; to reason with, and persuade the adversary to desist, if there be opportunity for it; or get out of his way, if he can; and if by such means he can prevent the injury, he is to use no other."

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