This time of year and at this time in my of life, I'm reflective. Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays. My birthday, which falls around the same time, transports me back to my simple childhood and the joy of being a kid. Since I was little, I got goose bumps when I heard the national anthem or America the Beautiful. One of my earliest memories as a five-year-old is driving my red-, white-, and blue-tasseled tricycle around the courthouse in Columbus, Georgia on July 4th. Even then, I felt part of something very important and as it turns out, I was and I am. America is a big deal.
Where else could I have been born with humble beginnings, work hard, and secure the life I live today? Where else could I be an entrepreneur at 10 years old throwing papers, mowing lawns, and shelling pecans? I owe myself a tiny bit of the credit for not being dumb enough to mess it up. I owe my family more of the credit for their example and their direction. I owe my country a great deal of the credit. I was willing to work and listen. My family was willing to love and teach. My country held me close, protected my dreams and made me proud of my opportunities.
I still work just as hard as I did then. That helps success continue. I'm the last one standing in this generation of my family. I miss my late family members very much, but I understand it's my responsibility to pass their wisdom and values down the line. My country still holds me close protects my dreams, and makes me proud. Even after all these years. I continue to be thankful.
That said, I'm afraid. I'm afraid we're losing purpose and perspective in our country, basically hating one another for having different ideas, opinions and views. Our discourse is disappointing and divisive. That's a one-way ticket to a place none of us wants to go.
There are several reasons why:
- Negativity uses bandwidth which is better saved for productive purposes. It takes a lot more energy to hate than to care. If we spend our fuel disagreeing, we don't have much in the tank to build and improve things.
- Verbally beating on each other changes no one's mind about anything. It only reinforces what we already believe.
- It ruptures relationships that otherwise have endured. Why do you want to do that? Every one of our friends is important to our lives. When we lose a friend, we lose a piece of ourselves
My good friends -- most of whom have different points of view from mine -- and I wrestle with this conversation often in terms of finding ways to transport ourselves toward positivity and calm. Solutions are elusive and challenging. It's hard to know what to do and how to do it. It's harder not to try.
Please consider three ideas that may not fix our contentiousness all together, but might afford us a beginning:
- Put caring for our country, each other, and our future on your "to do" list. With an attitude of gratitude, set aside a few minutes each day to reflect on what your blessings are and just maybe, how America helped you light that path. Was your education a part of your success? Were the fire fighters and police officers a part of your being safe? Did your roads make travel to everywhere easier? Did our military defend you and your rights? If so, be thankful and become a more strategic part of making our discourse civil again. If so, what can you do, where you stand with what you have, to make a modicum of positive difference? Perhaps, get involved in the conversation and the process. Not to yell somebody down, but to pick somebody up whether they share your views or not. Let's make a way to bring each other along, not toss each other aside.
- Identify your most effective attribute and put it to positive use to create a less divisive world. We all have at least one trait that translates well to others. My helpful attribute is usually a combination of my heart and my humor. That was best pointed out to me by a 14-year-old client a few years back. Her folks had left the dining room where we were meeting for a few minutes to attend to some younger children. When they left, she said "Mr. Hearn, I've got you figured out." I, mistakenly believing I was the adult in the conversation, replied, "Is that right? Tell me about it." Then the young lady said, "You're sweet and you're funny. When my folks think you're going to be funny, you'll be sweet, and when they think you're going to be sweet you'll be funny. They never know, but we all know you care about us." Humor has gotten me through the most serious moments in life. Caring about my clients is good for business, but it also fills my heart with rainbows. What's your most effective trait and how can you share it softly in a divided world?
- How important is charity in your life and in your world? What can you do to make it more so? When you are helping another, there's no place for negativity. If we spend more time focused on others, we are much less likely spend any time fighting with one another. God drives an unmarked car. When we give, it comes back many times over. Every time you do good, the bad guys fall back a little. Let's explore ways together to do more good and make more of a difference.
I don't pretend these simple suggestions fix the world. I don't have to pretend we need to do something to reverse this negative spiral that drags us all down. Use my suggestions if you find them worthy. Share your own with me and let's work together on them. Positivity is an elixir too potent and healing not to try.
Thanks for reading this far and considering these ideas. Thank you for CAREing about STARCARE. Happy Birthday America and me.