Last week, in Climbing the Wall, I suggested that “The watchmen are not our enemies. Our challenges are not our foes. They are moving us, to our best life and love, if we but listen, and trust. I need to keep listening, and to climb that wall.”

This week, it occurs to me that one on the watchmen is COVID-19, aka “the corona virus”. Some would have us apathetic. Some would have us fearful. The former would suggest that this is all hype and there is nothing to worry about; it is but mere hysteria. The latter would suggest that this is very scary, and feel a need to panic.

Look, I know that this already is having impact across the planet. I also know that many still remain feeling somewhat “unaffected”. Fear and apathy are both abounding it seems; another testament to our apparent current culture of extremes and division. I suggest that both reactions are less than desirable as responses. The best response is to actually, intentionally and proactively (not reactively) respond; to have the ability to respond. This is the virtue that is Responsibility; that ability to respond.

It requires balance. It requires measured Discernment. It requires being aware and mindful. It requires learning. The World Health Organization has information. So does the World Economic Forum. Knowing can move us beyond panic reactions, and towards true Responsibility.

The Watchmen

Then there is the idea of the watchmen. How does this scenario do us any good at all? First, and individually, I suggest that a potential pandemic reminds us of the importance of taking care of ourselves; healthier is more resistant… as I am reminded on my own journey back to health and strength. Second, this unfolding reality reminds us how we are connected in ways that goes beyond anything “kumbaya”.

Those are two great watchmen.

Bottom Line

We are now being called to practice Responsibility… not a bad thing for going forward. That implies getting the facts. It implies being prepared. The late great Dale Carnegie offered up these thoughts on controlling worry. Among them, he suggested:

  • Get all the facts.
  • After weighing all the facts, come to a decision.
  • Once a decision is reached, act without anxiety about the outcome.

Simple, fundamental advice. This world in which we live is all too often filled with the reactionary. The reactionary comes in the form of escapism and apathy… and in defeatism, paranoia and fear; two powerful but unproductive extremes. The numbness of apathy and the paralysis of fear… both do not serve well .

Our world demands of us emotional courage, and that demands Responsibility. Without it, we become not unlike something blowing in the wind. And, for me, I suggest that we are more than dust in that wind. We are the light and the fire, if we but choose. Our response to the watchmen will always require Responsibility. The kind of working unity needed in the face of this world and its challenges will require same.

Apathy, fear or Responsibility. Wouldn’t you rather?

Peace, passion and prosperity…


aka The Unity Guy


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Barry Lewis Green moves the needle on character leadership and unity building with joyful ferocity and thoughtful zeal.  Barry helps leaders forge strong, united cultures at school, work, business and community.  Joe Calloway says, “I had the distinct pleasure of being in an audience in Montreal with Barry Lewis Green on the stage. Quite simply, Barry absolutely captivated us with his talent, his message, and his heart.  The feeling of unity that Barry created in the room that day was extraordinary.”  With 39 years in education and leadership training and development … and work in the private, public and community sectors across Canada… and as a speaker, educator, master facilitator, coach, writer, singer, dancer, and cartoonist, Barry stokes the fire on together strong.