Show/Hide Navigation

Thought for the Day: be canny, be cautious, yet be gracious and trusting

Whenever possible I listen to the Thought for the Day on Radio 4. This one struck me for its useful balancing of trust and caution, one of the most vital aspects of solo travel in distant lands.

‘You must be,’ said Jesus, ‘as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves’. A poetic way of saying be canny, be cautious, be savvy yet in equal measure be gracious, trusting, open to the world and to the possibility that others genuinely share your dreams and aspirations.

How this blend of trust and caution plays out in our individual lives will vary hugely but we all work with it in the context of the public roles that we occupy as well as in our personal relationships. If we tend always to assume the worst of others we find ourselves withdrawing into a sad isolation or inviting conflict where it could have been avoided. If we are continually naive about the motives of those around us we may often get hurt and find our peace and wellbeing compromised.

It’s a hard and risky process but it is written into the very nature of our human experience. In a global context, if we do not involve ourselves in what might be considered to be someone else’s mess, they may not have the resources to build a better life for themselves and their children. But if we do get involved there’s the risk that others and their families will bear a tremendous cost. No-one knows that more than the bereaved families – who are so much in our hearts and minds – of those seven soldiers killed in as many days. This much is at stake and this is how fragile the equilibrium can be. The only thing that we have no choice about is that such choices must continue to be made.

Read Comments

You might also like

Walking Home for Christmas 2017 Every year approximately 15,000 skilled and capable men and women leave the Armed Forces having served on behalf of their country. The majority transition successfully. But for a meaningful minority the departure from the structured world of the military is […]...
Too much to choose from The irony of finding in my inbox, three years old and still unfinished, the embryo of a blog post about “just get on with it”… So, in the spirit of those notes, which suggested that the time to begin is […]...
Urgent versus Important Frustrated at the continual interruptions of modern life, I headed to a bothy in the hills to get some work done on my book. It was the most productive three days I have managed in ages! The book – when […]...


There are currently no comments. Be the first to post a comment below.


Post a Comment

HTML tags you can use: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

© Copyright 2012 Alastair Humphreys. All rights reserved. Site design by JSummerton