Adam Steele began his staff meeting by sharing an observation from his blue highways journeys. “Almost every community I visited had a deep reverence for the older members of the community. They were treated with dignity, and they were the source of the long-standing culture of mutual respect that I found. I want to share with you a letter from one of my children’s network.
Dear Mr. Steele,
It’s now been 10 years since I met you through your children. I’ve now graduated from medical school and ready to embark on a residency. I’ve chose to work with the Hollow Creek Clinic under the guidance of Dr. Jane Harlow. It took a lot of effort for me to have this residency approved. I think you will appreciate learning more about Dr. Jane.
Her clinic is in a very poor largely segregated community in the south. It’s the only clinic for miles which will accept Medicare patients. All of the other healthcare facilities have been bought up by for-profit healthcare chains. They refuse to accept Medicare patients because they claim they lose money on the low Medicare reimbursement rates.
When an elderly person comes to Dr. Jane’s clinic, they are welcomed and treated with respect. The only thing that Dr. Jane requires is that the patient agrees to become an ambassador for healthy living. She shows them what healthy living means, and what she wants them to do as ambassadors. You might think that Dr. Jane would get a lot of push back to her insistence on healthy living, but she doesn’t.
Have you ever seen a doctor with tears in their eyes when urging a patient to treat themselves? Well, that’s Dr. Jane. And she is genuine. When she shows her own vulnerability, that just instills trust and cooperation with her patients.
Her patients follow through. The state university has done a public health study of the community and it’s remarkable. What makes this work is the reverence that the community has for its elders. When the elder citizen part of the community adopts a healthy lifestyle the others will follow.
Dr. Jane is not wealthy and her lifestyle is modest. But she is revered by everyone. She has what money can’t buy.
Thank you so much for helping me finance part of my education. I doubt that I could even consider working with Dr. Jane if I had huge debts like many of my classmates.
Adam had a short comment after his staff read the letter: “Just imagine how our society would be different today if reverence were a part of our national culture.”
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“Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.”
– John Milton