You know what I think a big part of our problem is in American society?
[Yes, I am well aware the the problems are vast and numerous; this is just one.]
We are so used to being entertained by TV, video games, the Interwebz, whatever, that we panic in a power outage. We laugh at kids who protest limitations on electronic devices, but we need to take a closer look in the mirror. We have a constant need for more, for bigger, for better – the latest, the greatest, the coolest. We’ve quit trying to keep up with the Joneses because we’re too busy trying to outdo ourselves. But to what end?
We’re becoming soulless, finding no joy in the simplicity of everyday things, many of which are truly miraculous. A new bud on a rose bush is full of promise, just waiting to burst open with its heady scent, and its velvety petals drenched in color. The sound of kids laughing, of your favorite song on the radio, of a loved one’s voice in your ear; how many of these do we take for granted every day, rushing instead to immerse our ears in the inanities of the television?
The joy and wonder has been sucked out of our every day lives, and really, we have no one to blame for the misery but ourselves. No one forced us to be this way. Everyone has tragedies in life, and this is not about the realities of having to deal with them. But in a general way, for most people, you mood, your outlook, your attitude, is all on YOU. It’s a choice you make every day, and a whole damn lot of us are making the wrong one.
It’s time to change. Yes, this means you. And me. And him. And her. All of us.
It’s time to be grateful for the beauty in our lives. It’s time to place the value in life where it matters: on people. It’s time to stop chasing our tails in an endless quest for material possessions that hold no real meaning. It’s time to get our priorities out of the tank, and to actually do the Right Thing, instead of just talking about it.
The next time someone bumps into you, assume that it was an accident, and ask if the person is ok instead of snapping.
The next time a person in the service industry makes a mistake involving your order, assure them that mistakes happen, and that it’s ok. It’ll work out.
The next time an overworked sales clerk finishes your transaction and wishes you a Merry Christmas, say it back. I don’t care if you don’t celebrate Christmas, if the “assumption” that you do offends your oh-so-delicate sensitivities, or even if you’re having a lousy day. Say it back anyhow.
The next time a stranger smiles at you, smile back.
The next time you find something that doesn’t belong to you, seek the rightful owner.
The next time you have the opportunity to help someone else, do it.
The next time you make a request, say “please” and “thank you.” Every. Single. Time.
We tell our kids to “grow up” and “act like an adult,” but really? Sometimes I look around and I almost hope my kids don’t act like the adults I see every day. Because as their parent, I can honestly say that I would be ashamed if I saw my child act like the people I encounter.
To borrow a quote from a very, very wise man: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
To simplify it from a cute bumper sticker: “Bark less, wag more.”