I was in the Atlanta airport the other day and overheard an employee working at one of the airport stores ask a traveler, “Where ya headed?” It made me smile, and then it made me think. It’s a pretty profound question when you consider it more deeply.
We might be traveling to a specific place, but our reasons for going there may be more nebulous and unclear. But there is something that is compelling us to go in that direction.
Perhaps it is an important meeting or work engagement? Maybe a family get-together, celebration, or well-deserved break? Perhaps there is some kind of emergency that you need to attend to, like an ailing parent or sick child? Or maybe you are fleeing something terrible, like drought, violence, hardship, persecution, like many of the migrants and refugees that are leaving their homes in desperate hope for someplace safe to live, work, and raise their children. Makes me feel ashamed about all the times that I have complained about how miserable airline travel has become.
What Drives Us Toward Change?
What forces and factors motivate people to move away from something they know towards something unknown, but hopefully better? What is it about the power of hopes and dreams that makes people take big risks and venture to new places and spaces and opportunities?
We are quick to admire those who have “made it.” They overcame the obstacles and are now on top of the world. We see their amazing success and we wish we had some of that for ourselves. But would we have been as respectful, considerate and googly-eyed about them during their struggling days? Probably not. Most of us would criticize or condemn, or simply ignore them. After all, it doesn’t effect us, right?
Would we have helped them in anyway possible, or would we have given them well meaning advice that they are aiming too high, that they are not that talented, that they are fooling themselves, that they should just go back home and be content with their current station in life? As Kim Kasparian, the Success Genie, likes to say, “Don’t ick on my wow.”
We must give lift, not drag, to those who are trying really hard to take off and create better futures for themselves. They need our support, not our spite.
Be an Encourager
The next time you encounter a person who is trying really hard to get somewhere (figuratively or literally) consider the opportunity to be a more compassionate, useful, supportive mentor and friend. You may never understand their motivations or what they are dealing with, but I hope you can and will seize the moment to help them climb on board. We are all in this together. We are all headed somewhere.
Be a Good Samaritan
When you comes across a struggling youth, a young professional, a victim of sexual assault or harassment, an impoverished person, a homeless individual, or an illegal immigrant trying to cross the border, I hope you will think more deeply about where they are headed and why. How can you help them get to a better place? How can you provide a little relief and a little encouragement? I encourage you to help them as you would help yourself.
Let’s all make our skies friendly again. And the same goes for our roads, borders, cities, workplaces, schools, homes, and communities.
Let’s work together to help other people get where they want to go.
As American writer and orator, Mr. Robert Ingersoll once said, “We rise by lifting others.”