Most of us are familiar with the term, “preaching to the choir,” that’s probably because we have at some point been the proverbial choir. The term is used when someone is speaking to someone else who already understands the message that the speaker is trying to convey.
Yesterday, I spoke at a Diversity and Inclusion summit for the CHS, Carolinas Healthcare System. In a system of over 49,000 employees about 500 volunteer to participate. I was told that they are the choir.
I thought about the phrase “preaching to the choir” for two weeks before going to Carolina. I wondered if anything I would say would make a difference and then I thought about being in the choir.
· The choir gives a message before the minster allowing their music to soften the ears and hearts of the congregation.
· The choir typically sits behind or near the minister and are visually a part of the message.
· According to popular preacher lore (and yeah, I made that phrase up) before his fall from grace, Satan was the heavenly choir director. This is not biblical however and most likely derived from Dante’s Divine Comedy. At any rate, lots of things can happen in the choir loft so they can stand a bit of preaching to.
· Most importantly; the choir sets the mood.
When I arrived at the event, which should be called an experience, I was moved to tears by the meeting of minds and hearts. A staff member with the voice of an angel opened with a song called Amazing Love.
Laura Liswood, (Read More) the Secretary General of The Council of Women World Leaders; whose resume reads like a novel opened the conference and made even the most diverse of divers thinkers think again. I attended a break-out session called the Elements of Success and was wonderfully surprised when the presenter, Christine took us through the 4 elements; earth, water, fire, and wind enabling us to identify our dominant force or forces while seeing the unique and awesome strength of others.
As I looked around the room at people who were physicians, nurses, surgeons, managers, HR executives, account managers and any other position found in a hospital, I could see that this choir was deeply engaged with each presentation. No one was on a phone or sleeping. I wondered why there was no constant traffic to the bathroom and I remembered that these folks worked in health care; they can hold it.
I was moved by the commitment of the choir to learn yet another song and I was hopeful for the future of healthcare because of this one choir.
Diversity as we learned and relearned is not about getting along; it goes beyond that. It is about creating a new way of thinking, seeing, working and being.
I was heartened and uplifted and able to see more clearly and I felt like I was back in my youth when someone would say, “The choir really sang today.”
Be you, be well, be the choir.
Bertice Berry, PhD.