Many of the world’s top ‘movers and shakers’ gathered last January in Davos, Switzerland, at the annual World Economic Forum to renew connections, exchange ideas, and expand their understanding on critical global issues.
Conferees could also experience a mock version of poverty at the local level. The Crossroads Foundation of Hong Kong hosted for a second year “Struggle for Survival,” a live simulation that offered Davos participants an opportunity “to take a few steps in the shoes of those living on $2 per day, which is nearly one-half the world’s population.”
In 75 minutes, many Davos attendees saw first-hand hardships faced by those in dire need: the struggle for education, shelter, medical care, water, food, the scourge of corruption in the marketplace, and abuse by loan sharks in communities with weak legal systems. Cast members were volunteer humanitarian workers drawn from a range of nationalities.
What happens when we walk in the shoes of another person? Say, someone living in an acute care nursing home; or a caregiver whose days are filled with preparing meals, ‘toileting’ an aged parent, or nursing a loved one who can’t voice his or her pain or frustration.
Perhaps, a shift in outlook. A deeper understanding of what it means to be dependent. Riffing off Carolyn’s last blog, it suggests halting one’s exasperation with a sibling charged with caring for a parent but failing to communicate fully with his sisters and brothers. Or trying on a caregiver’s shoes as he pushes a wheelchair or empties a bedpan.
Rushing to judgment is like driving a speeding car. You focus is on the road ahead, not the world around you. Walking in another’s shoes can engender greater generosity of spirit, going the extra mile, ceding the benefit of the doubt, or listening with an open heart. Saying, “I will suspend judgment and view the situation from your point of view” means entering a shared world – if only briefly – with someone with dementia, a foreign-born caregiver threatened with possible deportation, or a cancer patient with little hope of survival.
Beyond Dispute Associates
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