“Welcome back, brother.” These were the words that greeted me as I was reacquainting myself with the city of Edmonton, in Alberta, Canada. I had just told the Uber driver it was my third time visiting. The friendly greetings did not stop there.
On several occasions throughout my stay, individuals offered a smiling face and kind words. What caught my attention, however, was the number of times I heard people referring to each other in the familial sense – “Thanks, sister.” “I’ll head your way later, brother.”
At first this caught me off guard, but then I settled into it. And I realized this simple reference could change the emotional climate of a discussion. It was like a continual reminder that we are all connected. We are all part of the same family. What a simple, yet beautiful way to be inclusive.
At times such as these, I’m reminded how isolating our modern world can be. With advancements in technology, it is easy to lose sight of the importance of human connection. And when this happens, people inadvertently get marginalized, excluded and feel alone – at which point we start focusing on all of our differences, rather than the things we have in common.
I’m certain our neighbors to the north aren’t perfect. I’m guessing they deal with a whole lot of dysfunction – just like we do in the good ole USA. But at the end of the day, I think we could all do a better job of remembering we are all part of the same family. Thanks goes to my Canadian family for this reminder. Your crazy distant uncle from Texas looks forward to the next opportunity he has to visit your amazing country.