Every day we experience the opportunity to make important choices in our lives and the lives of the people we love. We choose how to respond to events that affect us, both minor and catastrophic. We also choose what we will allow to impact us and our families, positively and negatively.
During the days since the tragedy in Connecticut, we have read a plethora of misinformation and incorrect “facts” and statistics from the general public and our sensationalized media. We have witnessed boundless anger and retaliatory rhetoric tossed back and forth, even among “friends.” We have seen and read raw and frantic political fanaticism. We have also watched numerous heartfelt exchanges of honesty and pure, vulnerable strength and compassion.
It is so simple a concept, yet we as a modern culture are still so hasty to blame, lash out with anger and hatred, “tell it like it is,” and make broad, generalized statements that often skip right over the humans we say that we are so insistent on protecting. We bend the truth to fit our agenda and skip to policy that we only think we understand. We are so quick to tell everyone how to immediately “fix” the problems that are flashed across our computer and television screens, and yet, we are absolutely unwilling to do what is actually necessary to safeguard our very own evolution.
“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. We need not wait to see what others do.” Gandhi
For those of you who have taken the time to get to know me personally, you know of the challenges I have navigated over the past few years. During that time, I have learned that sheltering my children from everything that is happening is not a productive way to teach them about real life. I have cried in front of my boys, I have told them I didn't have the answer but would do the very best I could, and I have led by example by allowing them to witness my resolve, over and over again.
So I choose honesty.
I choose authenticity, accountability and integrity. It is my hope to instill in my children the very same attributes, and to arm them with a diverse skill set to confront their fears openly, to recognize and ask for what they need, and to extend love and compassion to others in need. I choose not to assume I have the power to fix massive, broken systems, but to focus on what is important in my life, right now. I have learned that lesson well.
Today, it was important to sit outside in my car for fifteen extra minutes to allow my boys to tell me what they felt was important to say. I laughed with them and when they left to go to school, we said "I love you." I choose to be the change I want to see.
What do you choose?