September 11th, 2001. 15 years ago, I remember everything of the moment I heard about the World Trade Center buildings. I was downtown Louisville in my office at the bank, birthday season was coming up, mine on the 20th, Denise my wife’s is on October 3rd, and Chance my son was going to have his first birthday on October 10th. The radio was on in my office, low volume, unobtrusive, but the sound of disbelief in the DJ’s voice sharing information with us cut through everything. I listened with the nation with great intent and sorrow.

I have seen this country stand together, and I have also seen a divide tearing us down. There have always been these forces throughout our history, and I guess there always will, but it is when we stand together there is a power that is so much greater than all of us…. it’s just inspiring.

So for now, in this moment, let’s not point fingers, let’s not talk about agendas that are designed to divide us. Let’s talk about what it is to be an American, what it is to be HUMAN. How can we all STAND together, so that no one has to protest, that we all know the right path. Is it impossible? Maybe, but have we tried lately?

If you look how this nation started, it was through a revolt. It was a revolt against what citizens thought was an oppressive government. In doing so, they sought to create a document that would limit any governing body over the rights of being HUMAN. There have been amendments and laws attached all designed to make us live together better, or at least one group thought so at the time.  Again, I am not saying that we live in a perfect society, that would take perfect people, and we all have our own failings. We hope that with laws, it will protect us from harm of other people’s failings. To clearly define what is acceptable and what isn’t. The laws become limits, lines in the sand, they become controlling. THEY ARE, IF WE CHOOSE TO LOOK AT THEM THAT WAY. (Yes I was shouting in my text – it is to grab attention, so do I have your attention now?) We don’t have to look at limits, but rather let’s look at potentials.

We can stand together striving for a society that has respect at its core. How can we do this? I think we are not limited in any way from doing this, are we? If we respect the HUMAN, we look not at the action that individuals take, but the why, the whywith understanding we will have hope. If that why is destructive, it is most likely rooted in something that is self-centered. Respecting others it is always an outward look. The interesting thing is that we are being taught to be selfish at some point in our lives. When we focus on being self-less it is amazing how the hard work gets easier. Mind you I never said it was EASY, just easier. Being selfless we start working together and with respect. To grow in anyway takes diligence and endurance, also being disciplined not only to the effort, but to the ideas of respect and cooperation. In the world there are etiquette teachers that actually work on these traites. I remember a lot of those lessons well. Holding the door, or a chair, standing for the national anthem, letting the other person have their time to speak. If we look at all these rules for etiquette, we find that they are all built on showing respect.

So my thoughts? Let’s stand together, let’s go back and start teaching etiquette because it is teaching respect. Soon enough, we will all be working together in harmony.

John “Z” Zeydel – Thought Leader on Moving Communities in the Right Direction | Arkham Executive Founder – Creator of Managing by Excellence.

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