(THIS WEEK, please welcome veteran communicator Terry Gallagher! Here is Part 1 of Terry’s thought-provoking series on an appropriately summery theme. There’s more about Terry at the end of today’s article. I will return in early August—Dr. Wayne Baker)
“Welcome to the real world!”
You’ve heard that expression, usually said with a sneer or a world-weary sigh. I’ve heard it, too. It’s how we explain away a dirty trick in the office or workplace, some behavior that’s mean or low. Whenever we express disappointment with that kind of behavior, you can trust that someone will say, “Well, welcome to the real world.” It means that we should be wiser and more cynical, that we should expect that kind of thing. It says that honorable behavior and solid values are not found in the real world.
But it isn’t true, is it?
The real world is actually something different. Today, I hope you’ll add a comment about where you truly connect with the real world. At this time of year, a lot of us go on vacation, many to places that allow us to reconnect with the real world.
A biologist friend of mine once told me that the real world actually consists of only six things: air, water, earth, plants, animals and sun. Last week, I was lucky enough to spend time along the shore of the largest freshwater lake in the world. On Lake Superior, the weather report really matters. Sometimes you have to raise your voice to be heard over the waves. When the wind is blowing too hard, you can’t go out in the kayak or even walk in the woods. The eagle that comes sweeping in over the lakeshore isn’t there for your entertainment. Sundown is a big deal.
I’m not a simpleton. I know that politics is part of life, both in the office and in the nation. Human nature includes a capacity for bad behavior, big and small. But let’s not pretend that that’s the real world, or the complete extent of it. Instead, we can take this time of year to look at a more distant horizon, and to experience more directly the real world, the world of air, water, earth, plants, animals and sunshine.
Welcome to the real world!
Now, tell me today: Where do you go to find the real world?
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ABOUT TERRY GALLAGHER: After working more than 20 years in higher education, Terry Gallagher is exploring new ways to use media and messages to build stronger institutions and communities. Most recently, he has joined the board and helped launch communications efforts at the InterFaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit, a new group with a long history.