Sunday, March 01, 2009

Never give up. Never lose faith.

Recently, there has been much discussion on the nature of rescue work within the glider community, and some very good-hearted members of the community are "down" (and understandably so). Some are beginning to question "the system" and their place in it. They may wonder, "Why get involved if this person has done this, or that -- or "What if that thing (whatever it may be) happens - again"?

Who could blame them. Sometimes, things just get to be "too much."

Others begin to doubt the honesty, integrity, and character of other members within our community, and sometimes that doubt is justified. Sometimes it is not. Sometimes, no matter how much we try, no matter how much good we do, or how much effort we make, there will be someone out there who will do something (intentionally, or not) who will shake our faith in the system - and in each other. Then, confusion sets in. Blame is placed, and in the end, who is hurt? People and the gliders they purport to love so much. Who wins? Nobody.

Make no mistake: There are those out there who will take advantage of a situation if they think they can get away with it -- or if they believe they can profit from a bad situation -- especially given today's economic nightmare. That's life, folks.

However, when these bad things happen within our community, we have a few choices. Let's consider them. Here's are a few actions we may consider, just off the top of my head.

We can:

1). Stand united and be there to help, no matter what (or choose to help, by placing conditions)

2). Duck and run, so we don't have to deal with it (After all, who needs the bother? We all have our own problems, right?)

3). Raise a ruckus, create drama, and do nothing but create confusion, or add to it, simply for some twisted form of entertainment

4). Work to resolve the issues at hand - for the betterment of all

5). Choose to act using some combination above. Whatever works.

6). How about this: Raise awareness and have considerate discussion ON the actual issue (not the person)?

I'd like to think that our community will work together/pull together in a time of real need. I know this can happen. I have SEEN it happen. I have been a part of this kind of effort.

Sometimes, though, some of us will have to understand the nature of a need before we choose to become involved. Maybe conditions will have to be established before a person can TRUST that a situation will not be replicated.

Still yet, others, will jump right in there, no matter what, no questions asked, and they will do the best they can.

Yet, others will need to "raise awareness of the issue that has CAUSED the need." These people will feel a need to discuss all aspects before choosing to become involved, or simply have an element of curiosity that must be satisfied.

Now, "raising awareness of an issue" does NOT NECESSARILY mean "raising a ruckus" or "creating drama"! Life is not that simple, folks. Sometimes, there just needs to be adequate discussion of an issue; however, in so doing, the very highest standards of respect should be maintained - by ALL PARTIES - who choose to become involved. Remember the "the Golden Rule": "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

Sometimes people can discuss a topic and do just that! They can remain respectful and considerate; yet, at other times (if we are not very careful), personal attacks and judgments against a PERSON can begin to ruin lives and reputations. The issue is no longer on the table, and the PERSON becomes the target. Under no circumstances should this EVER be permitted on any board within the community.

Given this latter possibility, who can blame anyone for choosing to NOT get involved in a situation? However, those who DO get involved really do need to remember that karma does have a way of working things out - eventually - whether we "believe" in karma - or not.

Lastly, sometimes, if there is a really serious issue, the community, as a whole, NEEDS to get involved, if all other means have been tried and they have failed. Merely sweeping the issue "under the rug" does nobody any good. Yet, at the same time, there is a tremendous level of responsibility of those who choose to become involved in such public discourse on a heated subject, and they owe it themselves, their reputations, and that of the person (or persons) being questioned to maintain the highest standards of respect and consideration, each of the other - if there is to be a successful resolution of the problem at hand.

Sometime it is far easier (and certainly less stressful) to choose to NOT get involved. For some, this is the way it should be. Perhaps it is the wisest; yet, at the same time, nothing will ever change if no one stands up, either, and the problem will perpetuate, or worsen.

Of course, the best way to handle any "bad situation" is through direct communication by the parties involved, each to the other. But, what if that fails? Sometimes, direct communication is not always possible, and that is when (like it or not) "awareness is raised of the issue at hand" -- and the various boards become involved.

In business and in law, that is when MEDIATION or ARBITRATION comes into play. Business have standards, and they have agreements that they will follow a protocol: mediation or arbitration if there are issues.

However, in the glider community, there is no such entity. There is no single board, or entity, that can serve as a NEUTRAL third party, and the person(s) who feel they have been wronged feel as if they have no recourse. In fact, with the nature of "alliances and cliques" within this community (and these alliances and cliques are prone to changing - on any given day!) there is no way that some topics can ever be discussed in a "calm and controlled manner." Then, frustration can set in, which can, though not always, be followed by confusion -- or worse.

Sometimes, things get better on their own. Sometimes, they get worse, and sometimes, it takes a community to make a difference for the betterment of all.

When choosing to become involved in any given situation, it is best to remember this: Treat others as you would prefer to be treated - if you were in that situation. It's really that simple.

Having said that, "the system" can work - if we remain true to what brings us into the community in the first place: Our love and commitment for gliders, and (I hope) our love and respect for one another, too.