Risk Services of Arkansas - January 2019

SPECIALIZING IN YOU Agriculture Ministries Education Environmental Hospitality







Health Care




A Different Kind of New Year’s Resolution

As we turn the page on 2018 and everyone steels themselves to accomplish their New Year’s resolutions to get healthy, make more money, or master a new skill, I’m setting a different kind of goal for myself in 2019. In an effort to understand and possibly make a difference in the increasingly divided country we find ourselves in, I’mmaking an effort to reach across the aisle and meet some folks outside of my own narrow field of experience. As a naturally introverted, somewhat reserved kind of guy, this is about as far outside my comfort zone as I can get — but in this day and age, it feels more important than ever. Over the past few years, we’ve watched as our communities pulled to the polar ends of political and personal discourse. In a world of YouTube, Facebook and Twitter quips, respect has gone by the wayside. Everyone has gotten so presumptuous and opinionated —myself included! — that there’s little room for us to actually listen to one another. When it feels like we’re on different planets altogether, the idea of common ground can seem REACHING ACROSS THE AISLE IN 2019

friends of friends, or people from the church across town, I’m hoping to sit down and honestly communicate, and thereby start a relationship. I’m hoping to discover that some of the folks who seem to be locked into an entirely different worldview can, in actuality, share many of my core values and beliefs, even if we continue to disagree on how to put them into practice in the real world. If not, that’s okay too — at least we’ll probably understand one another a little bit better than we did before. Even writing this, putting it out into the world, is making me nervous. Now this isn’t just an idea I’ve been toying with, it’s an actual pledge I’ve just put into print. Who knows how it’s actually going to go, but I’m confident that this discomfort is just the precursor to growth. My military experience proved to me that Americans have way more in common with each other than most of us realize. Nobody cared where you came from, what you looked like, or what political beliefs you subscribed to. When it came right down to it, we were all Americans, and we needed to work together or we couldn’t accomplish our mission. That message of cooperation and community may be one of the only ways we can make it through this complicated moment in history, to come together and forge a path forward that helps everyone in this great country live better lives.

impossible. And yet, we all have to figure out a way to live alongside one another, to forge a path forward in the midst of these contemptuous times. In the wake of this, I’ve been awakened to the uncomfortable fact that by and large, I, like probably a lot of Americans, live in my own social bubble. Very few, if any, of my friends live outside of my political, financial, and racial demographic. Entrenched in this environment, it’s no wonder that I struggle to understand and see things from an “opposing” perspective. With this in mind, I’ve done some self-reflection, looking for a way that I could try to understand the overwhelming complexity of the modern world. And though it is a tiny thing, it seems to me that, as individuals, the best thing we can do is to sit down and start a real dialogue, where we truly listen with the goal of understanding. So, I’mmaking a pact with myself to engage with the people who have a significantly different perspective than mine. Whether it’s my neighbors,

... it seems to me that, as individuals, the best thing we can do is to sit down and start a real dialogue, where we truly listen with the goal of understanding.”

–Brad Johnson

President, Risk Services of AR Specialized Insurance Programs for Specialized Industries. • www.insurica.com • 1


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