I like to travel, and over the past 5 years my family and I have made several trips to different places throughout the U.S. Some of the best memories we have made as a family were during those trips. Many times we will recount a trip we had taken and will share a story about something fun that happened, “remember when…”. The trips are about the memories, and the memories live on for a long time. I also take a small amount of pride knowing that I introduced my kids to Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon, that we watched the sunset over the Pacific Ocean together, and that we rode some crazy roller coasters along the way. These are times they will never forget.
One place that I have always wanted to visit is Switzerland. And so far, it’s still on my bucket list. How can you not love a country with so much natural beauty? The lakes and mountains are majestic, the castles and architecture are awe inspiring, and of course I hear they make some of the best chocolate in the world, not to mention that many of their cities are ranked as the best places to live in the world.
A fascinating thing to me is also the history of Switzerland’s armed neutrality. Switzerland has not fought in an international war since 1815. During WWI and WWII while Europe was exploding around her, Switzerland sat tight and didn’t take sides, and didn’t fight. How is it possible that a country would remain neutral and not join the “good guys”? It’s admirable to me that a country can remain neutral, and I wonder why more countries aren’t like Switzerland?
I think about this in my own life. With a bitterly contested election that just ended, is there a way for us as Americans to become more neutral? I don’t mean that we shouldn’t be firm in our beliefs and stand up for what is right, but I also think that people on both sides are good people, and most want what they think is best for themselves and the country. Perhaps as we approach the holidays and look forward to a new year with new hope, we can consider if we can be a neutral influence in the world and in our communities. Is it possible to not take sides, to be an arbiter of truth, to hear both sides to a story, and to perhaps learn something? In the meantime, I will dream of skiing the Alps and eating chocolate by the fire. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday season!
“Seek first to understand, then be understood.” – Stephen Covey