A perception of risk

riskDue diligence and risk management are business terms that have come into popular use. Due diligence is to exercise a certain standard of care before concluding a deal. That exercise should include an examination of factors that could have an adverse effect on desired outcomes. Typically, an effort is made to minimize risk.

Everywhere in the world people are planning and seeking a path toward an ideal future. This is true of parents, heads of governments, small business owners, investors, students, advisors and persons in waning years and careers. Just as the stock markets, barometers of investor confidence, draw their inference from an incessant examination of events and trends, we too are affected by “economic indicators”.

We allow news of changes to credit ratings and speculation about central banks’ strategies to influence decisions that affect our entire lives. To what dangers are we exposed when we abdicate our own due diligence to purveyors who are dedicated to the bottom line? To me it seems like a lot of eggs in one basket – financial security.

What about the damage caused by neglecting the need for intellectual, emotional and spiritual growth? When we look around us and see repeated instances of naked and blatant disregard for the welfare of others. When there is an escalation of horrific acts of violence against women and children and when acts of mass destruction are bursting out with alarming frequency; it becomes difficult to disregard moral poverty as a major risk.

There are important areas that bring joy and a sense of fulfillment that cannot be measured in financial terms. Intellectually we know that many of the diseases that deplete our financial resources are the by-products of dissipation and excess.

There seems to be an expectation that government, churches and others in the social and human development business should take on the task of “fixing” these scenarios of brokenness. That our role is simply be spectators, commentators and passengers. We second-guess, criticize and squander graces put at our disposal. It is clearly time to re-think our priorities. We must be personally accountable for recognizing and nourishing those things that money can’t buy. Without gratitude, there can be no joy.

“What if you woke up tomorrow, and had only what you are grateful for today?”

This morning, I had a conversation with a couple who are home-schooling their children. They recognize that their children’s grasp of what they must learn is increased by the direct involvement of committed parents. Other tutors are brought into the home and disciplined study is a habit, not a chore. This is a family of returning nationals. They are well aware of the challenges in our economy and society but are optimistic about the prospects for the emotional and spiritual enrichment of their family. They have started a business and I believe it will succeed because of how they treat others.

As we head into the Christmas season, let this be an occasion where each of us makes a conscious, daily examination of how we can nurture our own spirit. Let us act on the realization that satisfying work is more important than just having a job. Look for the things you do which create a positive response in others, and do more of it.

God bless.

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