On Doing My Best

Last week I was working from home for a couple days while my husband was with the little dude at Cub Scout day camp. (Which was a bit disastrous, but that’s another post). I hung out will my 10 year old for two days and it was so fun to have one on one time with him.

As I was “working” on my laptop in the living room, I turned on an episode of House Hunters. My buddy settled down to watch the episode with me and he was surprised when the couple on the show were gay. Specifically, he was confused by the term “partner” that they used to refer to each other and asked if that meant they were business partners. I explained, no, that meant they were life partners. He asked if that meant they were married. I said, well, maybe – but I’m not sure if marriage is legal in that state. So we looked it up online and found out which states allowed gay marriage, which didn’t, and which allowed some other version like a civil union. As you may expect, that segued us into a very interesting conversation on politics and morality. Um, teachable moment? Yes!

I essentially gave him a crash course in politics, Democrats & Republicans (with a passing nod to other parties), and a high-level overview of hot-button issues. I’m sure he only understood a fraction of what I said, but I hope what stuck with him was my emphasis on the need to learn the issues individually. As he gets older I want to him to think, research, and make decisions on the issues according to what seems right to him. He doesn’t have to follow what his dad and I think; he needs to form those ideals on his own, based on his fact-finding, perception and experience.

I want to provide the best moral guidance I possibly can for my boys so they aren’t caught up in simply what they are told they should believe – either by the media, their friends, or other influential adults. I want their world view to be as all-encompassing as possible. I want them to understand that life isn’t fair, but to also understand they can try to BE FAIR to others. That love, compassion, and kindness is so very necessary and though it’s so often lacking anymore they don’t have to follow that trend. I want my children to help make the world a better place and not contribute to the overall lessening of our moral compass, our collective intellect, and our soul as a country and as a collective world. I want them to understand that we are all responsible for each other.

(I realize “moral compass” can be seen as a bit of a priggish term (a bit stick-up-the-butt, so to speak). I don’t mean it that way; to me, moral compass is knowing right from wrong, good from bad, but also having the ability to understand nuances and extenuating circumstances and intentions behind the actions. To be able to see the big picture – how we all work and interact together, how one action can lead to another, and act accordingly in a way that best protects and nurtures the world and her people).

When I read an article online I typically will scroll down and read the comments. I don’t know why I even do this anymore; I am constantly appalled at the vitriol that come from people’s fingers on the interwebs when there’s no social consequence to their words. People spew hate and venom with little regard to the people their words may affect. I’m sure they think their words don’t make a difference. I can tell you, just scrolling down that list and seeing all the unadulterated bile in post after post certainly affects me.

It makes me wonder what happened. What happened to our collective heart? Are we so very polarized that we can’t imagine that public figures (politicians or otherwise) are people, like you and me, and that they are working and doing the best they can according to their beliefs? There has got to be a way for us to work together, regardless of our beliefs and how they dovetail, in order to protect our world. If people don’t start working together, being sensible to what needs to be done, then I have grave fears about where we will be in 10 years. Or even 5.

For my part, I will teach my kids that it’s not just tolerance that is needed. We need a deeper level of understanding. A deeper level of worldly consciousness. We need to be more selfless. Less motivated by the outcome and more motivated by the journey. I’ll try to teach them to look to the future and worry less about instant gratification. That’s a hard one, I’ll admit, even for me. We are so dialed into our here and now that it’s hard to think of 30, 40, 100 years down the road.

There’s no easy answer here. No quick fix, or easy way to undo all the pain out there. Making my kids *good* people won’t fix it all – I know that. All I know is I will do my best. Like my little Cub Scout. He doesn’t know, or care, what the Cub Scouts stand for, what they believe, or what their controversies have been. He only knows that he needs to do his best.

That’s all we can do.

Mucho love,

Stef

Losing Faith: Politics & Madmen

It would be quite easy to chalk up the events in Norway this weekend to the work of a madman (comforting because no “normal” person would commit such an atrocity) but I fear that isn’t the case. Maybe he IS mad – who am I to judge – but his rampage wasn’t random. It has the appearance of being politically motivated and this sickens me to no end.

How is it possible that someone can feel so strongly about a political party that they would execute, SLAUGHTER, the children and young adults affiliated with that party? HOW? Tell me how because my brain can’t process it.

The U.S. government in Washington, D.C. has stalled in debt ceiling talks. Normally this is a routine piece of legislation, however this time some members of the political parties seem to think this is a win or lose situation for them rather than *simply* the financial fate of our country.

I don’t usually get political on my blog – because I’m not interested in debating my beliefs with anyone – but I have to say that I’m simply aghast that with a financial catastrophe absolutely breathing down our necks our representatives are not doing more to work together. Compromise, people. Work towards the greater good.

Have they forgotten that they work for the citizens of the U.S.? Their decisions impact our collective futures.

Silent Majority. I saw that term in a headline over the weekend and immediately reacted to it. The headline was something like, “The U.S. Moderate Silent Majority is Fed-Up with Washington.”

To which I say: YOU ARE DAMN WELL RIGHT, I AM.

I lean left most of the time. Sometimes I swerve right. Sometimes I can be undecided. Other times I’m steadfast. I listen. I observe. I listen to their words and I watch their actions. Then, at the polls, I vote my conscience – on the issue AND on the person.

I AM the Silent Majority.

As I watched my Twitter feed this weekend I saw a lot of Norway tweets mingled with newsy tweets about the failed debt ceiling talks. President Obama is angry. House Speaker Boehner is apparently trying to appease the fringe Tea Partiers. He left the meetings. They held dueling press conferences. They don’t agree on anything. Blah, blah, blah.

All I can think is MY GAWD, have you NOT seen the news about Norway? About what happens when a (likely) political extremist takes his views too far? Is your damn hubris so all important that you can’t bridge the gap and come to a resolution for the GREATER GOOD of our country? Please, for the love of Maude, stop the polarizing rhetoric and political posturing. You are making me mad. And sad. And just plain scared for our future.

The constant hate-filled political rhetoric and the negative-loving media beast is perpetuating the creation of extremist viewpoints. No good can come of this.

We are on a path of political, financial and cultural destruction. We are slowly committing suicide as a country. Our patriotism, or belief in our political system and our leaders, are all dying a slow death that we are bringing upon ourselves. We are killing everything that we love about our country.

I just want something to believe in. I want to believe my leaders are representing the best interests of my family. Even if I disagree with specific pieces of legislation I want to have that trust, that assurance, that they are looking ahead to the future and protecting the interests of all Americans. That they are listening when smart people tell them what the impacts of their decisions will be and that they are then taking the BEST (non-biased, non-partisan) option for our collective futures.

Our similarities are greater than our differences.

Mend those fences, compromise, please, before my children’s financial futures, not to mention their hope and faith in their country’s leaders, are decimated.

We have the judicial, legislative and executive branches of our government for a reason. Checks and balances. Oversight. The prevention of anarchy, chaos & tyranny.

Memo to Congress: please see beyond your own self-interest. This is my country too.