I feel an absolute sense of disdain for the ranting of everyone on their political platform called facebook. And yet, I can't seem to keep my mouth (fingers) shut because of some of the things that I am observing that strike me as incredibly hypocritical and revealing about people's reaction to the state of affairs in our country.
I feel like a large part of our population is throwing a giant temper tantrum. Yes, you did not get your way. But you are a grown up and all of the cussing and bad, disrespectful behavior in the world is not going to make your parents change their mind because they are GOOD parents. This country's founding fathers (parents) created a system of government that cannot and should not be violated because you throw a big ol' fit.
Now, that being said, I'm learning a lot about leadership and about our individual responsibility to take responsibility for our responses in reading and reflection I have done since the election. Here are a few of the things that I have learned:
"Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space lies our power and freedom to choose our response. In those responses lie our growth and our happiness."
First, Victor Frankl was right--the space between stimulus and response is a POWERFUL space. It defines us. It stretches us. It needs to be exercised, like a muscle, in order to grow. In those responses, we have the opportunity to create happiness for ourselves. If we are miserable, we have chosen misery--our circumstances do not MAKE us miserable. We still have a choice. If we choose happiness in spite of our circumstances, that is character-building. These are our defining moments. They are difficult and they stretch us because we feel SO passionately about things, but the principle that we can choose our response does not have exclusions....like when its emotional or we feel passionately about something. The opposite in fact--that is when it applies the most and is the most profound. I guarantee you that this quote was prompted/inspired by, arguably, the most horrific circumstances imaginable as Victor Frankl came to this realization after being imprisoned in the death camps of Nazi Germany. I dare anyone to debate that our circumstances right now are worse.
I'm embarrassed for those that will look back at the news and see their face in a crowd of protestors throwing a temper tantrum when, instead, they could be among those who take these circumstances and, through exercise of our freedoms in a respectful way, use this as an opportunity to get involved in our communities and do what we can to make a difference. Temper tantrums do not make a difference. You do not make progress that way. You make progress through dedication, hard work, respectful communication, listening, kindness, proactivity, knowledge, and understanding.
I also read something written by John Adams that is a little bit frightening. It is the idea that governments are only good when people are good. "Our constitution was made for a moral people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." Houston, we have a problem. I don't think that we are acting like a "moral" people. We need to be better! We need to use the space and CHOOSE to be moral! I am not making a comment on lifestyle choices or any of that. I am commenting that we need to behave in a way that is reflective of the respect and decency that our founding fathers assumed would describe the bulk of the people who were blessed to live in the great country they were working to establish. Just because we look around us and see people making bad choices and just because the media chooses to focus on that because, lets face it, it is pretty entertaining sometimes....just because "other people" are behaving badly does not mean that it is acceptable or excusable or in any way an example that we want to follow. Rather, we need to CHOOSE to be better than that. Just you. Just me. We can't choose for other people, but we can embrace the fact that we can be a force for good by being a good example.
We are good people!!! We have so much potential to make good things happen! We just need to start looking for the good--we will ALWAYS find what we are looking for. The antithesis is also true--if we are looking for bad/negative, its there and we will find it. Its like a self-fulfilling prophecy. We just have to choose what we want to see. Our behavior follows our perception, even unconsciously at times, so we have to check our perception and choose our focus wisely. Lets look for the good and then behave accordingly!