There are so many interesting expressions used in our language. I wonder, have you heard this one, ‘And Bob’s Your Uncle’?
Although I’ve heard it many times, I didn’t know where it came from, so I decided to look it up. The most popular explanation is that Robert Gascoyne-Cecil (yes, Uncle Bob), the 20th Prime Minister of England, became famous for appointing his favorite nephew, Arthur Balfour, to several political posts in the 1880’s. Despite Arthur not having a great deal of talent, Uncle Bob wanted him to become successful, so always tried to ensure his placement in important roles.
The practice became known so widely that a phrase emerged. Today, it has come to mean, ‘and there it is’ or ‘and there you have it’. Typically, folks say it to conclude a set of simple instructions or when a result is reached.
No doubt the context allows for a great deal of flexibility. One and one equals two and Bob’s your uncle. Or, you put thousands of pieces together in an orderly fashion and you can send a rocket to the moon, and Bob’s your uncle.
What does this have to do with world peace?
Actually, a lot, in my opinion. A long shot you say?
Here’s why I feel the way I do.
What do you suppose is the reason why world peace does not already exist?
You probably have an opinion about this and since there are likely many, many reasons, you’re probably correct.
It seems to me that when folks set out to solve this problem, they search for the reasons why it exists. I understand this approach, but I’ve never found it particularly effective in solving challenges. It becomes a rather large rabbit hole to fall into, having to know ‘why’ before taking corrective steps.
What makes more sense to me is to find a way forward, rather than looking backward for answers.
Enter, Bob. What did he care about? I don’t know if he was married or had children of his own, but he did have at least one nephew. Family. He cared about his nephew and his success.
Let’s suppose that you and I could survey every person on earth and ask them what was important to them. What do you imagine they would respond?
I believe one answer would be…family. No matter what their circumstances were, whether they lived in relative peace or inside of a fierce war, I believe they love their children and would want them to be healthy and safe. And, they’d want them to have a chance at a good life, just like Bob wanted for his nephew.
What if folks everywhere were able to sit down at a table and talk about their children and their hopes and dreams for them? And, what if they were able to agree that this was what was the most important thing in life? What if their children’s futures were more important than religious ideologies, territorial boundaries or commercial success?
What if, in sharing our love for our children, we discovered we could look beyond our differences and see our sameness?
I believe that’s when things would change. I believe that’s the pathway to ‘world peace’, if there is one.
Since there can not be peace in the world until there is peace inside of me, I’m going to try to take every opportunity to focus on how to make the world the best possible place for my children and grandchildren…and Bob’s your uncle.
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