I certainly have seen the worst of what fraternity life can be. But despite that experience, I believe in the positive potential of fraternities and sororities, and I have worked for 20 years to protect them from the dangerous, dysfunctional, and destructive forces of hazing.
After the announcement of the ban this week, the bold move by the NIC was (deservedly) praised for being a much needed, albeit long overdue, step in the fight against hazing and other alcohol-related issues that have plagued fraternities throughout their history. In the wake of what may have been fraternities' deadliest year on record, the collective call for a significant changes was deafening.
But make no mistake: this is only a step toward a solution, not the be-all, end-all solution.
If we look at these two research studies together, it is easy to come to the conclusion that our groups, organizations, and teams are failing to connect our work with our own larger sense of purpose, our most powerful and renewable source of motivation.
Although many years have passed, I have yet to meet anyone, TV presence or regular human being, that has brought the same level of caring, love, and kindness to our world. And anyone taking a good look around our current world would see just how much we need someone to help teach how to manage our emotions and to love our neighbors. But Mr. Rogers isn’t here to do those things anymore, and it’s easy to feel that things will never get any better. It’s easy to be overcome by our emotions. It’s easy to focus on ourselves and forget about our neighbors.
The fact that McNair's death was pointless and wholly avoidable is obvious, and hardly a revelation at all. But, what the player's death and the months thereafter illustrate are the addictive, insidious, destructive, and systematic nature of organizations that are tearing people down rather than building them up.
After my grandpa’s death a couple of years ago, my parents had done much of the planning for their own funerals, but one of the few tasks that remained was writing my dad’s obituary, which prompted me to reflect on not only my dad’s legacy, but my own, as well.
Do you find yourself frustrated with the current state of your life? Or maybe a specific part of your life? At the end of the day, maybe you don’t know whether what you’re doing now is what you want to do with your life.
To be sure, regardless of whether or not the behavior was hazing or not, it was clearly wrong. It was homophobic, racist, and sexist, and it is being rightfully condemned by the school, the fraternity, the media, and the general public.
With that said, does it really matter if we call it hazing or not?
But by far the most powerful meeting for me was our visit with Sean-Patrick Lovett, the Director of English Language Communications for the Vatican. Although he specifically addressed the challenges and strengths of the de-facto multi-national corporation that many of us call the Catholic Church, it was impossible to leave that meeting without hearing a call to adventure for all of us to rise to the challenges of our disinterested and deeply divided world.
Following are a handful of Sean-Patrick's main points (which are not direct quotes), as well as my reaction and reflection on those.