“In the Babemba tribe of South Africa, when a person acts irresponsibly or unjustly, he is placed in the center of the village, alone and unfettered. All work ceases, and every man, woman, and child in the village gathers in a large circle around the accused individual. Then each person in the tribe speaks to the accused, one at a time, each recalling the good things the person in the center of the circle has done in his lifetime. Every incident, every experience that can be recalled with any detail and accuracy, is recounted. All his positive attributes, good deeds, strengths, and kindnesses are recited carefully and at length. This tribal ceremony often lasts for several days. At the end, the tribal circle is broken, a joyous celebration takes place, and the person is symbolically and literally welcomed back into the tribe… as the Buddha said: ‘Hatred will never cease by hatred. By love alone is it healed.'”as described by Alice Walker in Sent by Earth: A Message from the Grandmother Spirit
I have had this story on my side bar for a while and every time I read it, it makes more sense to me. My wonderful parents passed along many values to my siblings and me, but the one I value the most is to always look deeper into why people do or think the things they do and try to “walk in their shoes” before making snap decisions about them. I can’t say I have perfected this or honestly, even come close, but when I read this story, it reminds me that we always have to look for the good in others because when we focus on people’s strengths, rather than weaknesses, we provide the person and his/her surroundings with such a better place to live.