The rose is the national flower of the United States, and today honors one variety in particular: the Peace Rose. Developed in France in the early 1900s and sent out to Italy, Germany, Turkey and the U.S. for protection during the German invasion, the Peace Rose is a symbol of everlasting world peace for the global community.
During this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have emerged so many divisions amongst people. Simply wearing a face-mask has become a political statement in the eyes of some. Now more than ever, as a community on both a local and global level, need to take a bold step forward by practicing the same open-mindedness and acceptance that gave us the Peace Rose.
Having an open mind is not always easy. We get set into our own beliefs and perspectives, which is wonderful and we need varying perspectives to keep us growing and evolving. However, being open to others’ thoughts, suggestions, and viewpoints, taking them in, and building off of them with our own beliefs can actually lead to stronger arguments (“argument” as in the professional, true meaning of the word) and stronger solutions to today’s problems. When we are open to the information around us, letting it grow us and our own ideas, we become stronger people.
The man who bred the Peace Rose, Francis Meilland, was caught in the midst of a full-on invasion by the German forces, and yet, he did not close his mind and abandon his friends in Germany. To ensure his creation that he believed in survived, he sent grafts of the plant to his German friends, who took care of the plants, carrying on Meilland’s legacy.
Acceptance is often associated with being passive, but this is far from the truth. Acceptance allows us to remain true to ourselves and what we believe in, and allows others to believe in something else. Always, strive to do no harm. Kindness is always going to be the higher road, but consider the long-run too.
Face-mask wearing is a surprisingly hot topic right now, with some believing it is pointless, unconstitutional, etc. But consider that it does no harm to wear a face-mask, and it may actually help someone else with a compromised immune system. The people who are healthy and strong right now are the most likely carriers of the virus COVID-19. Thankfully many of us have strong immune systems and carry the virus without experiencing any of the symptoms, but we can give it to others who have weaker systems. Therefore, it does less harm to wear a mask and potentially saves lives.
This practice of acceptance of other people is another aspect of the peaceful coexistence Meilland envisioned and infused into the life of his Peace Rose.
As we begin to come out of our self-isolations and into public, practice some open-mindedness and acceptance for the people who choose to stay home, wear masks when they do come out, or continue to keep a safe distance. We don’t know their story and they may be remaining extra cautious to protect their loved ones. Remember you cannot SEE that someone is immunocompromised. Be safe out there.