Our host culture provides insights into practices and beliefs that have allowed people to live and thrive in island communities. In their relationship to the land, to one another, and to the surrounding world, island people see life differently.
Island people understand limits. Walk in any direction and you will soon come to the ocean … 2,500 miles away from the next habitable shoreline. Those limits are a part of our awareness.
Island people understand the need for tolerance and civility. The “idiot” you deal with today may be your relative or neighbor tomorrow. We practice restraint because we live closely together and understand the role of forgiveness in everyday life.
Island people understand the need to preserve resources. We envision ourselves as stewards of this land and recognize that we must preserve it for future generations. For many, that long view is combined with a legacy of commitment passed on by our ancestors.
Island people understand the value of collective action. The capacity to work together in common cause has proven to be a key strength of ours.
Island people understand the value of spending time with others. The time spent listening to one other — appreciating each other’s stories and authentically understanding where someone “comes from” — is a fundamental extension of mutual respect and core to our ability to live with and enjoy one another.
Island people understand that culture matters. We gain precious gifts not just from our own culture but also from the culture of others. We also are enriched by their combinations.
Island people place a high value on humility, especially in our leaders. Recognizing the power of each of us and of all of us together, we view the role of a leader as guiding something greater than oneself.
Island people understand the value of sharing. The act of giving without the expectation of reciprocity enriches us in ways we can’t (and need not) foresee.
As we work to make our conversations more productive, we are mindful of our grounding as island people and grateful for the lessons of those who came before us.