Saturday, August 13, 2016

Joy only, please

When I was 7 years old, I remember being at my grandparents' house, the news on in the background, and hearing their commentary on the current state of the world.  As it seems to be with anyone 50+, their take was along the lines of it's going down hill, and fast.  Hearing them, I distinctly remember thinking "that sucks.  I have to grow up in it."

And look.  Here we are almost 20 years later.  And the "world is still going down hill and fast."

I used to be an incredibly negative person.  Ask anyone of my high school friends or anyone who has known me long enough to reach back 10 years or so.  In my defense, I wasn't negative for nothing, I had it fairly rough as a kid and grew up faster than I should have.  And it left me pretty dark.

But as I've gotten married, matured, seen and have had different experiences, and most significantly became a mom of 2, I've come to learn being negative about life, your situation, and most relatively speaking, about the world, is damaging both to yourself and to the people around you.

In light of a pretty nuts election year, you may be flying your Dem flag high or running around thinking America can in fact become great again, or you might be packing up and shipping out to Norway.  Despite the situation and your cause, these recent months have brought out the worst in many folks, and they've left a lot of angry people in their trail, all of whom are convinced the apocalypse is coming.

One of those people you won't see running around calling anyone crooked or crazy (unless they publicly demean women *ahem*) is me.  Yeah, I get riled up when thinking about the student loan crisis (and I do think it is a crisis) and yeah, I'm passionate about increasing awareness for mental health, and yeah, I'm not too keen on the idea of either candidate taking that presidential oath come January 20th.  But...that's that.  I'll do what I can on my level, in my own circle to achieve what I think should be achieved, but nothing will be achieved by me or you succumbing to and spreading despair.

I should be clear.  I think you should know what's going on in the world.  I watch nearly all the debates (even if that means streaming them online), I regularly follow up on the news, and I've have watched coverage of both the DNC and RNC.  As a Journalism major, I find those who believe you don't need to know what's going on in the world a little annoying.  But there's a difference between being informed and getting active in the political sphere and being informed and running with "this sucks."  If you think it sucks, do something about it.  On a local level in your community or most importantly in your home.

My kids will either grow up with a Clinton White House or a Trump one.  And regardless of that outcome, I need to let them know they are safe, protected, and have potential in our (already great) nation.  As they get older, I won't shield them from the realities of the world, but I won't ever lead them to believe that those realities determine their future or safety.  And saying things like "this world is going to Hell" is exactly what makes kids question their future and their safety.  If it's like this when your 70, what will it be like when I'm 70?

It's easy to get roped into the theatrics of it all, to get carried away with one issue or another and dip down to name-calling, complaining, and hopelessness.  But despite what we may see, joy is always more effective and love is what wins.  So next time you see the candidate you can't stand, I'd invite you to remember the quote from the great, soon-to-be-saint Mother Teresa, Do not wait for leaders; do it alone person to person.

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