What to include in a whack pack for a world out of whack

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, September 1, 2016

Last week’s column was a tribute to the late Bill McLean, of Morley, Stoney Nakoda chief and globetrotting goodwill ambassador. Many of our readers commented on how his infectious smile brought hope and healing to a world seriously “out of whack.”

Out of whack? That reminded me of a column I ran back on Oct. 17, 2001. I’d like to revisit that column this week.

“The world’s out of whack,” Cochrane coffee companion David Irvine observed the other day.

Now, we’ve all known the world’s been out of whack for a long time. But when this highly-respected motivation consultant stresses something so obvious, I sit up and take note.

I also consider doing something about it.

If the world’s out of whack, I figure, then let’s supply the world with what it truly needs – more whack.

Distribution would be an important factor, I realize. I mean, the world’s a pretty big place, and there are lots of people and nations in urgent need of whack. But how to reach them?

So, I had a serious discussion with coffee companions Leanne Forest, Bob Bartlett, and my wife Mary Anna, and we settled on a scheme. Inspired by the legendary example of CARE parcels of food, education and toiletry supplies, we said, “Let’s create whack packs!”

The obvious question, of course, is what kinds of whack to put in a pack for a world out of whack.

If it were something on a smaller scale – say, a radio, television, or computer that was out of whack – the task would be easier. Just include a replacement, or a technician to make repairs.

Or how about health? Back’s out of whack? Include a new mattress. Sleeping’s out of whack? Throw in some pills or, heaven forbid, a sack of decaffeinated coffee.

But a whole world out of whack? Can’t just throw in a new one. Adding pills to the whack pack won’t help, either.

The world needs grander whack than that.

Mary Anna suggested the whack packs include sets of big ears for world leaders, so they could listen to each other more attentively. She also thought pairs of special eyeglasses should be included – to help these leaders better see all points of view.

Bob and Leanne thought we should include teddy bears and security blankets, so that global decision makers weren’t driven by fear and insecurity. Werther’s Originals candy should be included, too, they agreed, so that whack pack recipients would always take into account the grandchildren around the world who love and trust their grandparents.

As I reflected on the kind of whack I personally wanted included in the pack, the internationally-acclaimed work of e-mail coffee companion Linda Kavelin-Popov came to mind. She’s the creator of The Virtues Project.

Linda, a psychotherapist and community healer, together with her psychologist husband Dr. Dan Popov and her art-director brother John Kavelin, came upon something she regards as quite profound. “At the heart of all spiritual traditions,” she says, “are virtues, . . . the essence of the human spirit and the content of our character.”

In her books and seminars, recognized by the United Nations and used in education programs worldwide, she celebrates 52 virtues. These include compassion, forgiveness, gentleness, honesty, honor, integrity, justice, peacefulness, tolerance, trustworthiness, understanding, and unity – virtues without which civilization would cease to exist.

I would like to include each of these virtues, beautifully gift-wrapped, in the whack pack, along with copies of Linda’s books.

There’s another virtue Linda highlights that must absolutely be included, a virtue also celebrated in the words of that great song by Hal David (lyrics) and Burt Bacharach (music):

What the world needs now
is love, sweet love
It's the only thing that

there's just too little of
What the world needs now

is love, sweet love,
No not just for some
but for everyone.

I think I’d want a copy of that song included in the whack pack, as well. It just seems so very appropriate at a time like this. What would you include?


© 2016 Warren Harbeck

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