The more and more I reflect on my recent trip to Switzerland, I realize how much the country, culture, and people touched me. It’s now in my top 3 places to retire.
I spent most of my time in Montreux, a town on the shoreline of Lake Geneva at the foot of the Alps. It’s about a 75-minute drive from Geneva, Switzerland’s most international city. Geneva holds the European seat of the United Nations and is the launch pad for the International Red Cross’ humanitarian campaigns. Montreux is home to The Montreux Jazz Festival in early July, which is the second-largest annual jazz festival in the world after Canada’s Montreal International Jazz Festival.
I would describe the Swiss’ core cultural attribute as “good stewardship.” They take care of what they have been given: nature, material things, and each other. They value happiness, friendliness, cleanliness, peacefulness, and humanity. There is almost no crime and no poverty. At first, the skeptical American in me thought it was all an act, but the more time I spent there, I realized it was genuine. In every town, the experience was the same … Geneva, Montreux, Vevey, Bern, Les Diablerets. The Swiss have seemed to master the “love thy neighbor as yourself” concept. In my humble opinion, Americans could learn a lesson from the Swiss on this front.
The Swiss Constitution is modeled after the US Constitution. Here’s its Preamble.
In the name of Almighty God!
The Swiss People and the Cantons, mindful of their responsibility towards creation, resolved to renew their alliance so as to strengthen liberty, democracy, independence and peace in a spirit of solidarity and openness towards the world, determined to live together with mutual consideration and respect for their diversity, conscious of their common achievements and their responsibility towards future generations, and in the knowledge that only those who use their freedom remain free, and that the strength of a people is measured by the well-being of its weakest members;
adopt the following Constitution:Preamble of the Swiss Federal Constitution
At the Geneva airport, these were the top 3 sustainable development goals:
- No Poverty
- No Hunger
- Good Health and Well-Being
All 17 are listed in the image to the right. All are noble goals. Each should be adopted by every country in the world.
In short, thank you Switzerland for modeling the behavior that we are asked to model by our Creator. As with America, you are not perfect, however, you set the bar very high for love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. You are a beacon to the way out of the selfish zone and into the neighbor zone. You model how to give other people the respect and courtesy that everyone created in God’s image deserves.
You are model stewards.