Smell the Flowers Along the Way

The Flowers

I support encouraging our future District and Lions Clubs to welcome diversity and inclusivity.

We hope to enshrine social responsibility in our governance at this coming Convention – our responsibility to guard our children and environment, and to recognise and embrace diversity. Our Convention will, I am sure, be a showcase for our journey along this path and be an encouragement for other Lions Districts to follow. Indeed, Multiple District are approaching LCI to have our Ethics adjusted to recognise our responsibility to our environment.

Today is about diversity.

Recently I paraphrased an old piece of wisdom relating to stopping to smell the flowers along the way, I think in my Lions Australia profile (it may not have been published, LOL).

May I expand that and describe my enjoyment, and perhaps yours, of so many people accompanying me on that path through life?

They encompass the young, old, and middle-aged; healthy fit people, some not so fit and some with physical disabilities; people with superior intellect, some like us average folk, some with disabilities in this area but all still serving others with true hearts of gold. People of various colours and creeds from our Indigenous Australians to migrants from Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, the Americas and Oceania.

Then those who find the solace of emotional and physical connection with their fellow man – of the opposite sex or the same sex, or with both, and in a variety of ways I cannot imagine. There we have it – variety in myriad ways more numerous than I have mentioned here.

All travelling down that path, a hubbub of conversation and laughter, all enjoying the fragrance of the flowers and the buzzing of bees and insects, the warm embrace of sunshine and maybe an invigorating zephyr tickling their hair against their face. Life.

Life is a journey along that path for us to enjoy the company of our fellow man and our environment, not a race to the top of some totem pole of power and riches, figuratively stepping on all and sundry on the way, perhaps destroying people physically, mentally and emotionally.

Besides, if you win, what are you going to do when you get there? There you sit on your lonely totem, watching the parade of diverse humanity disappearing over a crest, laughing, talking, joking, helping each other along, happy in each other’s noble company. Smelling the flowers along the way.

Embrace the beauty and power of diversity.

I urge your clubs to discover a whole new world – full of potential members many with hidden talents.

Many with unknown but wonderful stories to tell.

Heroes persevering and overcoming their personal challenges.

Youthful enthusiasm, wisdom of age.

District Governor John Barnes