Benjamin Skinner of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard Kennedy School of Government issued a report that there are more slaves today than at any time in human history. He has estimated that 27 million people in the world are forced to work, held through fraud, under threat of violence, for no pay beyond subsistence, in forced marriages, in sex-trafficking and prostitution. Seeing this report stuns me since we boast of living in a modern era and promote ourselves as being more civilized.
How do we change this?
We do not become better people or leaders by simply reading a book, listening to CD’s, watching a video, or attending class on leadership or self improvement. We all can benefit from such activity but we will never become better leaders or people by simply doing those things. There is so many leadership seminars and classes today and yet that is not the sum total for change. I can gain information and increase in knowledge on any given subject by attending a seminar, but if I don’t apply it by putting it into practice, it all means nothing. Think about this, a person can read all about swimming from several books. They can attend seminars and workshops on swimming but until they get into the water and put into practice what they have learned, it will have produced nothing for them.
Intentions are good but not enough!
At the turn of every year, thousands decide to set a goal of losing weight. They will renovate their basement, make room for exercise bikes, weight lifting equipment, and purchase a new fitness program on DVD, to keep them motivated. By March, many will have accomplished little to nothing in reaching their goal. They are making the common mistake we all make in life of considering the obtaining of equipment, renovating the basement, watching DVDs, (the antecedents – a preceding occurrence, cause, or event) as the change itself. Change never happens unless behaviors change first. With each antecedent, you have encouraging or discouraging behaviors. In many of these failed cases of intention were mere tired bodies at the end of a long work day, seeing a recliner chair, and a remote for a TV. Most never planned on how to overcome these attacks on their good intentions. Talk has to transcend into action.
Will despots read something like this and have an explosion of change from encountering these words of advice? Probably not, but there is the next generation which can be salvaged by instilling human rights and value for humanity within them. Regardless of religion, creed, and culture, we must take up the Golden Rule (treat others as you want to be treated) as our rallying point for humanity. If we teach our children to pause every time they face a situation that demands a decision, and ask themselves this simple question, “How would I want to be treated?” This kind of pause and reflection would cause a cease in killing people over the surface things that truly do not matter. Black and white racial divides; do you realize its just the pigment of one’s skin that is different? Under the surface we are all the same! How can such a surface issue create such hostility, division, and even murder? Just because one believes in a different God than me; why would that infuriate me to the point of feeling justified to kill the person?
The value of a person does not hinge upon the skin color, religion, ethnicity, or any other external surface item, but all people are valuable because they are human. Their skin color and all other things listed does not affect their intrinsic value as a human being. Therefore all people have human rights – to live without threat of persecution and death because of the surface issues.
When I am a leader of a nation, I am not the leader of one sect of people but for all citizens in that nation. We need to lead by example by treating people the way I want to be treated. Change starts somewhere and why not with me as a leader first. Create the atmosphere of honor in the government among one another and let the people see it in action.
Leadership must remind themselves of their own constitutions along with the U.N. Charter on Human Rights. As leaders we must understand that if we treat others the way we want to be treated, it is like sowing a seed and receiving a harvest. When I treat a person like they have value, I have deposited a seed of worth inside of them. Eventually it will grow and then they will respond in kind.
It may sound overly simple but leadership should ask themselves “if I was a citizen living under the way I am ruling – would it be the way I would want to be treated?” If it is not, then you have the power to change it. Wouldn’t you rather have people have a favorable opinion of your leadership than a negative one? Wouldn’t you receive more cooperation from them as citizens and all be benefited? Some things to ponder that are worthwhile.
The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights places a constitutional value on protecting the intrinsic value of every human being. The basic value for human life is a universal belief. It is the common core of who we are. Let’s embrace it – let’s end the unnecessary suffering and turn loose the potential that is in each citizen. Let’s stop aborting a person’s potential due to surface issues and turn that potential loose and watch something amazing happen – the benefiting of humanity!