(Excerpts from Published Article in Ventura County Star, 2008)
Saturday, October 18th, 2008
Vazquez: Unconditional love matters
In the work that Deborah De Vries and I do through the KEYS Leadership Academy at the Café on A in Oxnard, we work with many who have been abandoned. Most of these “lost children” we work with are terrified and looking for their lost childhood — often in the wrong places, always in desperation.
For many, their search may lead them to alcohol, drugs, prostitution, gangs or abusive relationships. Others will somehow manage to find a way to live a “normal” life. What all are looking for is love. It has been our experience that an incredible transformation and empowerment can take place in all who are touched by the power of unconditional love. So, when Debbie and I promote this idea in the work we do, we are often met with skepticism.
We press on with our unconditional love and have found that even the most troubled souls respond to this approach. Here is our seven-step approach to our unconditional love philosophy:
- Unconditional love is unconditional acceptance of the person asking for a helping hand. Unconditional acceptance does not make demands on the individual. We accept the obvious fact that the individual has perhaps lost the road map to life (or perhaps just taken a wrong turn); either way, unconditional love will eventually redirect the individual.
- Unconditional love will produce loving individuals, and then everything in this person’s life is possible. All the behavior demanded, such as personal accountability, responsibility and resourcefulness that the individual could never master before will eventually be a natural byproduct of unconditional love.
- Unconditional love is action-driven. It requires the servant provide individualized services to the client. The servant cannot deliver unconditional love with empty hands; the servant must engage power and institutions so goods and services are unconditionally made available.
- Unconditional love will eventually inoculate even the most troubled client, transforming the client into the servant.
- Unconditional love is fearless. Even when the task seems impossible, it will find a way.
- Unconditional love is forever. There are no time frames, schedules or deadlines. The servant understands a client may backslide a few or a hundred times. It does not matter. Eventually, unconditional love will liberate this client.
- Unconditional love is available to each of us, and we can all practice it, but first we must learn to lead with the heart.
We at the KEYS Leadership Academy request that we give the greatest gift we can: the gift of unconditional love. It will bring love, peace and happiness to all who receive it.
~ Armando Vasquez, Co‐Founder, the KEYS Foundation