I was recently reminded of a beautiful passage in the Gospel of Mark regarding the courage and faith of Bartholomew. With only the sounds of Jesus’ throngs approaching in his destitute village, the blind, street-bound Bartholomew clamored to be brought in front of his Savior. The townspeople insisted he be quiet; however, Jesus had a different point of view. When asked what he wanted, Bartholomew cast his coat aside and asked for his sight. So convinced of Jesus’ power, he didn’t carefully place down his few possessions and count his steps, but rather threw his coat, not knowing where it would land or considering how it could ever be retrieved.
Knowing him to be a “true” Israelite, without deceit or guile, Jesus said to him, “Go…your faith has healed you.” Bartholomew instantly recovered. Jesus gave sight to someone whom he knew already had insight, perspective and understanding. Couldn’t we all use more of these traits today? The faith of Bartholomew and the open mind and heart of Jesus?
We live in a cancel culture world these days; perhaps we can rise above it. As a society, we are constantly punishing, ostracizing and canceling those whom we had otherwise considered good and decent people until that moment when a single word or phrase is uttered—intentionally or unintentionally—and suddenly it’s attached to their reputation.
In cancel culture, people are quick to assume and quick to cast judgment and often without fully understanding the situation or issue at hand. And in the modern world, with social media platforms, it makes it all the easier to broadcast the misdeeds of others and quickly banish someone without a single thought. In some cases, there truly was a moral violation—someone misspoke or said something thoughtless—but there’s little regard as to what pain or suffering someone may have been facing in the moment of their transgression, and certainly without the smallest amount of empathy towards that person. And by “empathy,” I mean the notion that we have all overstepped our boundaries. We’ve all had our fumbles. We’ve all committed falsehoods, myself included, towards others. It never seems to occur to us that it could be you or me who is the next recipient of the wrath from the puritanical culture mob. That doesn’t seem to compute with most people.
If we could take a step back when we hear or read about a transgression of another and consider that person’s lifetime, instead of one single incident or one poorly-phrased moment, we would be doing ourselves and society the greatest favor. Our nation is made up of millions of families and millions of communities. Each family and community is unique. Each has its challenges and each has its own history upon which it hopes to build and improve.
This month’s issue of NorthBay biz is dedicated to business families that have overcome all sorts of challenges to survive and indeed thrive. Personally knowing some of the challenges these families have endured—and in large measure overcome—gives me the confidence to know that we can improve ourselves by knowing each other’s stories. Some of the families featured have become quite wealthy. Momentum and direction made by those who preceded them have simultaneously made their work easier and more pressure-filled. Fear of failure can often motivate more intensely than the will to succeed. And when we add in family differences, jealousy and inequities, well, it can sometimes make for a toxic mix of challenges.
As a Sonoma County resident for more than 26 years, I’ve come to know so many fascinating and wonderful families throughout the North Bay. I’m so pleased to say that we cover a number of these families in this issue, and I am certain you’re going to enjoy reading their stories.
I hope you enjoy this month’s issue. And now that the rains have returned to this parched part of the world, I hope you’ll take time to relax and reflect on the most important things in your life. Tell me your story. I’d love to know more about it as we begin writing the next chapters of the great Northern California family businesses that surround us.
Reach me, as always, at Lawrence@NorthBaybiz.com.