United Families International was privileged to have university students accompany us to the Commission on the Status of Women. Madisen Busenbark shares what she learned while at the United Nations.
It’s been nearly 4 months now, and I still can’t get it off my mind. The Big Apple. The city so nice, they named it twice. New York, New York. More specifically, I was at the United Nations. I was with a group of rock stars at the Commission on the Status of Women promoting the family. Literally rubbing shoulders with some of my heroes.
Fighting for a Cause
There were people there from all over the world fighting for causes that they believe in, seeking to come together to be able to accomplish great things. The main hang up, though, was that not everyone holds the same values.
I myself was there promoting the family and some of the things that I have found that provide the family with the best opportunities possible to succeed. You see, when you strengthen the family you strengthen society, you strengthen the economy, you strengthen the quality of living, and the list goes on and on. This was our message to delegates from all around the world, and we came with research to back these claims.
When I first arrived, I was a bit shocked at how much hatred I felt directed towards the values that I promote. There were times that I did not feel heard. There were times where I felt attacked and definitely misunderstood. I felt alone in the cause. (Even though I would later learn that that was definitely not true! There were TONS of people, all around, who would eventually make themselves known.) I had to work hard not to become defensive. I worked hard to listen. I realized that those whose opinions “opposed” mine were likely speaking out of defense themselves. That can be a pretty vicious cycle to work with- defense responding to defense responding to defense. I’ve learned that if you really take the time to understand someone and respond with love, they’re much more willing to do the same for you.
The Fight is Not Against Each Other
When I listened, I quickly realized that it’s not so much that we’re fighting against each other. I don’t believe that any of us are “bad” people seeking to destroy one another. We just see a different means to the end. I would even venture to say that if you were to pick any one person out of a crowd and ask them what they are most passionate about, it’s likely to be something that they believe would be for the benefit of another person. We all, generally, want good things for people.
Again, we are NOT fighting “against” each other! At least I hope not. We ARE fighting for things that we believe in. No matter what your beliefs are, remember that those you perceive as “opposing” you most likely believe what they believe just as strongly as you do.
Great People Everywhere
I met so many incredible people. People who are fighting for what they believe in. People who I never would have met had I not been willing to step outside my comfort zone.
Most of the experiences that I personally had (that I count as a “success”) were more individualized, one on one experiences. In those experiences, there was always always a mutual respect for one another, which involved listening to understand before listening to be understood, even if neither of us walked away having convinced the other person of our personal goals.
These Are Our Allies
After my experience at the UN, I know that I will never stop promoting the family as a fundamental unity of society. I will continue to advocate wherever I am; whether that’s the halls of the UN, the subways of New York (I met some awesome people there too, by the way. There are such good people everywhere!), or the little town I live in here in Idaho. However, I will seek to be cautious of those around me as I do so and seek to work with them rather than against them. There will still be times that we disagree, there will still be times where neither of us can obtain what we want without unintentionally hurting someone else, but it is my sincere hope that we will be able to (at the very least) hear one another’s voice and seek to work together in whatever way our conscience will allow.