I just flew over Thailand, and boy are my batteries drained! Benjamin Edwards and I made the journey to create visual media for The Freedom Story, an incredible non-profit focused on the prevention of child exploitation through education. Ben is hard at work editing the full piece, but I've put together a few aerial excerpts.
Thailand gave me realization that problems we "see" as foreigners are not something we just rush in and “solve”. There is so much inherent in their culture that we just don’t understand. To help someone, you must first realize that they may not initially want help. If you truly believe you have a better option, all you can do is to be an example and share solutions. Make the help available, and make yourself available, but you can’t force change. You can’t be the hero and save everyone. They can decide to choose a different path and the best you can do is to be present, and committed enough to help them once they choose that path.
Is this not true with everything in life? We try to enforce change by war or oppression, but it only temporarily succeeds in quelling the enemy, not changing their mind about the conflict. We demoralize and convince them to surrender, but they are not converted to our side.
In relationships, we cannot force people to see our perspective, we can listen to them, understand where they are coming from, and then simply offer our position and show them there is another option. If we approach it with a mission to change them, we are usually met with resistance. Our success is through understanding them, and being understood ourselves. Sometimes this is more important than actually converting them to our opinion.
Peace can survive between people of differences if everyone truly appreciates and honors those differences. We don’t need to convert people to our beliefs to live in harmony. We just need to respect our right to have differences and the humility to acknowledge that we probably aren’t always right, and don’t usually know everything. Simple, but difficult.
Drone footage by my DJI Phantom 4.