By Boyd Matheson

The year 2016 was a year of derisive and demeaning rhetoric and dire predictions. It truly was a dark night of division for America. There is a critical need in our nation for all of us to let go of the darkness of the past and look to the light of a new day and a new year. More than ever we need to believe – in the goodness of the American people and the greatness that comes from looking for and finding the best that is within us and within our fellow citizens.

The story is told of an old Quaker who stood at the gate of the village greeting the travelers passing through. Often the travelers would ask the old Quaker about the people who lived in the village. The old Quaker would always respond with a question of his own. He would ask the traveler, “Tell me, what kind of people lived in your last village?”

If the traveler answered and said that the people of the last village were mean, rude and selfish, the Quaker would pause and then say, “Well, I think you will find the people here much the same.”

But if the traveler answered and said that the people of the last village were kind, considerate and caring, the old Quaker would pause and then say, “Well, I think you will find the people here much the same!”

You see, we tend to find what we look for in other people.

Far away in another time and place, a Jewish rabbi sat talking with two of his friends. The rabbi asked one of the men, “How do you know when the night is over and a new day has begun?”

His friend replied, “When you can look into the east and can distinguish a sheep from a goat, then you know the night is over and the day has begun.” The second man was asked the same question by the rabbi and replied, “When you can look into the distance and can distinguish an olive tree from a fig tree, then you know the new morning has come.”

The two friends then asked the rabbi how he could tell when the night is over and the day had begun. The rabbi thought for a long time and then said, “When you can look into the east and see the face of a woman and you can say, ‘She is my sister.’ And when you can look into the east and see the face of a man and can say, ‘He is my brother.’ Then you know the light of a new day has come.”

Think of that for a moment! The world can be a dark and negative place that needs the positive light of a new day.

We are all travelers. So as we travel about each day, I hope that when we pass by others at work, in stores, at restaurants and on roadways – that we will look past the faces of strangers and look into the faces of our brothers and sisters.

When we do, it will indeed be the beginning of a new day for each of us and for all of them. It will be an inspiring new day for our nation.

Happy New Year! It is time for it to be morning in America once more.

For Sutherland Institute, this is Boyd Matheson. Thanks for engaging – because principle matters.

This post is an edited transcript of Principle Matters, a weekly radio commentary broadcast on several radio stations across the country. The podcast can be found below.

Receive this broadcast each week directly via iTunes by clicking here

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Boyd Matheson is president of Sutherland Institute. Boyd, who served as chief of staff for Utah Senator Mike Lee in Washington, D.C., has a wealth of experience as a coach, executive adviser and business consultant. In addition to his service as Sen. Lee’s chief of staff, Boyd most recently built a successful political consulting firm advising national and state elected officials and candidates. From 2005 to 2012, he served as president of Trillium Strategies, a consulting firm focused on branding, business transformation and operational excellence. Boyd and his wife, Debbie, have five children and four grandchildren.

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