We are living in serious times, in fearful times of uncertainty. We are living in such a stressful state of unified division. Red vs Blue. Right vs Left. Liberals vs Conservatives. Pro-Police. Anti-Police. Pro-religion. Anti-religion. Pro-Abortion. Pro-Life. Pro-gun. Anti-gun. The list goes on and on.
And thanks to the internet, social media, the press, and all of the constant chatter on the communication highway, we can read minute by minute how this real-life screenplay unfolds. Only this “screen-play” is our life. Our precious, one-chance only life.
How many of us grab our phones or Ipads before we even get out of bed? We do NOT bury our head in the sand and hide from the truth. We read the news from multiple sources, gain information , become educated on the facts that are delivered to our newsfeed and email. Then we take a much-needed break from all of this conflicting noise and look to our friends and social media as the cup of tea to soothe our troubled souls. We optimistically turn to Facebook or Twitter, desperately hoping to find fun new Kodak moments that our friends have shared. Sadly, we scroll through boastful bashing of opinions, one-sided news feeds, and snide commentary between “friends” that will probably be “friends” no more. Our cup of tea gets cold.
We read, we “unfollow”, we search again for those Kodak moments, and then we get sucked in once more to read the news, the posts, and the dissention. With a look of horror on our faces, we see the words as people call each other despicable names, argue and fight, ugliness behind the pounding computer keys. The courageous acts of anonymity and internet ease make the ugliness easy. We can say what we want and never see how it affects someone else. We watch TV for entertainment and see the snarkiness even there. Hats off to Hollywood for using their status and popularity to broadcast their opinions in subtle or not so subtle staging.
It feels as if the last 6 months or more, we have all been in a constant state of divisive conflict. We read. We listen. We fret. We wipe our worried brow and wring the sweat of fear from our shaky hands. Our blood pressure rises, our heavy hearts working harder with the load of our children and grandchildren’s future at stake. Where will this all lead?
This is not a political blog. Whatever camp you are in does not matter. I do not care. This is a prayer for humanity – a message pleading for the return of civility to mankind. This is a message respectfully disagreeing with the method of disagreeing. This is a message reminding folks that we are the mirrors that our children look into. Our words. Our actions. What do you want them to see in that mirror?
In my mind, we want our children to see smart, educated people, able to gain information and form our own decisions. We want them to see that we stand by those decisions and conduct our agreements or disagreements in a respectful manner. Do we want them to learn at 5 or 10 or 15 years old that there is so much hate and sarcasm in the world and that it’s ok to spew it carelessly among the masses, which includes our innocents reading those hateful words? Do we want them to know that there is no filter? That what is spoken in the privacy of their homes does NOT have to be spread through the internet with blatant disregard for the basic premise that people should be respectful of each other.
We’ve all seen it. Heard it. And many of us have a difficult time staying out of it. We mull over a respectful reply. We type it. We delete it. We retype it. We delete it again and then turn our computers off to remove the temptation to stand up for our belief, to berate them for their insensitive remarks, to potentially lose a friend, or our self-respect. All in the name of Freedom of Speech.
But when did Freedom of Speech include freedom to spread hate, call people names, and disregard other people’s right to have an opinion? Our sacred right of Freedom of Speech has been vulgarly abused without people even thinking about the consequences.
I wonder if any of the lessons that we learned early on in school are even remembered these days. I wonder if our teachers, many of whom are gone, would just cringe at how little is remembered from those early days when conscientious teachings branded our impressionable minds with lessons that we were supposed to model throughout our lifetime.
Can we live by the Golden Rule again, simply reminding each other to “treat others as you would like to be treated”. A simple yet profound statement of consideration and respect. Can we put ourselves in someone else’s shoes before lashing out with knee jerk responses that are insensitive and meant to hurt and omit words like “stupid” and “ignorant” when someone’s opinion doesn’t match ours?
The disappointment in humanity over the past several months have cast dark ominous shadows upon our society. The gloom of the nay-sayers, the negativity expelled from the media, the “fighting back” defensiveness, the name-calling, the obvious culture of divisiveness. These are all diminishing the beauty and simplicity of our lives. Is it within our power to change the culture at all? Can we hope that even one person’s message here reach beyond this article to be shared and have an impact that could possibly provide a pause before someone’s words portray an image that we don’t want to negatively impact another’s life. Can the mirror that our children see us in provide a better moral imprint to guide them towards a future that will be ever more dependent upon ethical, respectful, and honorable behavior.
My blog is about Moonflower Bloom moments. Ones that bring joy, simplicity, and beauty to our days. But it is also about contributing passionately to make a difference in the world we leave to our children – one that is rich with love and honorable principles.
My challenge to you, today, is to think about the Golden Rule and Life Lessons that you have learned along the way, to resurrect them, and to model your actions by those defining words. Can the message that we, as parents and grandparents, imprint upon our children be rich with love, kindness, and consideration. Then, truly, we will have done our part in leaving a lasting legacy to our children so that they, too, can have a life filled with Moonflower Bloom moments.