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Respect is perhaps the most obvious and most universally quality to building any relationship and making it last. Yet we have lost respect for so much, our communities, our country, our neighbors, strangers, our families and tragically ourselves.
If we are not taught to have respect for ourselves first how can we possibly have true respect for others or recognize respect given to us from others. Self respect could be the single greatest factor in preventing the abuse of our children and our future adults. When people are taught to respect themselves they enter into a circle of giving and receiving that exists at the very core of our need to belong and provides everything we need to give and receive it. This may be the single greatest factor in the work toward preventing family violence.
Growth – Is looking beyond what we know to discover what we don’t know. It is the understanding that we are constantly learning about the human condition and improving our lives. Growth is about knowing that we don’t have to choose between the wrong way and the opposite way of doing something. It is the understanding that there are many ways to handle something and while not all of them can be right, they surely cannot all be wrong either. True growth is not only learning how to look for and find an answer to how to handle something, its learning from our mistakes when we get it wrong and trying another solution next time until we finally get it right.
In the past unity meant your church, your community, your neighborhood, your family but never reaching beyond those uniting qualities and seeking information, guidance or knowledge from outside sources or new perspectives. In fact unity by its very nature in those circumstances discouraged any view that was not already shared by the collective group. Unity was defined as harmony and agreement but unity is more than just that. Unity is about the connectedness that exists when the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Unity in communities meant building common interest and goals but in communities we must encourage the difference in us, the strengths in having those differences and the unique power that comes when those differences are celebrated not exploited.
Unity in religion is agreement and harmony but in religion we much recognize that harmony sometimes means existing peacefully with the enemy as animals demonstrate in nature. The hunter does not chase the hunted from its land and it takes only what it needs to survive.
Unity in our neighborhoods meant safety and awareness. People look out for one another and made sure everyone is protected. But we judge and compare ourselves and others and utterly fail to know one another in a world where neighborhoods are quickly becoming the streets we return home to at night but know almost no one.
Unity in your family meant agreement about what was expected and how it would be handled when expectations were not met. Today unity requires the ability to be individuals and except one another as different, unique and wonderful in our own way. Unconditional love begins in the family and it is through families, communities, neighborhoods and personal beliefs and values that we discover the true meaning of being united to one another.
Prevention As A Cure, or PAAC as I like to call it, officially came in to existence at the end of the long winter in 2006. I had spent the previous months and perhaps years in a restless state of being. Feeling as though I was constantly searching for something but having very little idea what it was I was seeking. I didn’t realize at the time that I was searching for my passion, for the one thing I could dedicate my life and my work to. I needed a place to channel the immense energy and ideas within me and nothing I had tired up to that point felt as though I had found it. I came across the following quote as the vision for PAAC began to take shape in my mind.
“The secret of life is to have a task, something you devote your entire life to, something you bring everything to, every minute of the day for the rest of your life. And the most important thing is, it must be something you cannot possibly do. ” — Henry Moore
Born of my intense restlessness the foundation of PAAC was formed. Over the next couple of years I would gradually breathe life into her as she slowly began to breathe on her own.
Defining PAAC and what it’s vision unfolded as I began to define what it was not. PAAC would not be another website full of the brutal statistics about child and intimate partner abuse. PAAC wouldn’t focus on what was wrong with relationships or who was to blame for those faults. Instead of calling attention to the bad PAAC would focus on was good and how to build stronger and healthier lasting relationships in partnering and parenting. PAAC would be a catalyst for social change at the very core of one of our most essential needs – to belong to one another. PAAC would teach children what had never been taught to children before and adults what they needed to succeed in marriage and partnering. PAAC would deal with the reality that most people grow up in family and social environments that do not promote healthy boundaries, unity, growth and respect and as a result people often ended up in relationships that were unsatisfying at best and abusive at worst.
In the past children were taught to respect their elders, adults, and members of the community but often at a cost of being silent about the abuse they suffered at the hands of those who were suppose to protect them. In the past adults have believed that the only choice they had to prevent repeating the mistakes their own parents made and causing or continuing their own emotional and psychological pain was not to repeat the same mistakes, but often at the cost of making the opposite and equally caustic choices often destroying the families they worked so hard to build.
While a deep understanding of the past can teach us great things, a strong and clear vision of the future can teach us even more.
PAAC was about to challenge the past with a vision of the future.
“If we truly believed we could change the world, we would do just that.” -Rachel Bauer 2009.