A friend messaged me recently, asking for a list of the top 5-10 challenges, problems, and issues facing America in order of priority. I was cooking dinner at the time and wanted to respond before his message got lost or forgotten, so I quickly came back with five: social media etiquette, biased reporting, gaslighting and manipulation, willingness to listen, and complete lack of respect.
There are so many things wrong with the world right now that it was hard to narrow it down, but those seemed like a solid starting point. Without getting political — because, frankly, that should have been number one on my list — the obstacles we face are multifaceted. All the same, every argument shares one common denominator: Us. We are the problem, but we are also the solution.
For me, the most upsetting part of civilization's unrest is the way people are treating one another, particularly on social media. As a mother who has raised her child to be well-mannered and kind, to think before she speaks and respect boundaries, witnessing grown men and women doing the complete opposite is incredibly defeating.
Those of us who are parents, fostering minds and spirits of the future, should be looking inward instead of outward to ensure we are instilling the right message in our children. The world needs decent human beings, not infants who scream at the drop of a hat or bully those who disagree with whatever point they are trying to make.
Parenting is the most influential role a person will ever play. It is the kind of leadership that demands integrity and a tremendous amount of patience, but the payoff is infinite. Every decision you make as a parent — good or bad — impacts the fate of your child. You have the power to make or break a person. Imagine what that can do for society.
It's super easy to point fingers at one person and say, "You did this; it's YOUR fault we are suffering," but the truth is that you cannot blame one individual for the demise of an entire country because it's everyone's responsibility —yes, even you, me, and the kids riding bikes across the street. So ask yourself what it is you want from all of this. Is a new president going to kiss your boo-boo and make it all better? Maybe, for a hot second, but eventually, that person will piss off someone else for doing something that "he, she, they, zir, etc." disagrees with, and the downward spiral will begin again.
It seems as though the line in the sand keeps moving. What started with one objective has led us down a delicate road of autonomous transformation with no end in sight. In my opinion, which doesn't stretch far, we are over-regulating things. There are too many ways for humans to fuck up by saying (or doing) something offensive or unforgivable. The rules have gotten so extreme that many have stopped speaking altogether, and while some are grateful for the reprieve, others are silently casting votes that have nothing to do with an election.
Here's what I'd like to know: At what point do we stop revising speech? When is enough going to be enough, and how the hell are we supposed to keep track of all these real-time changes when the vast majority can't even remember what they went in to get when they walked into the next room?
What will it take to keep the peace so the world can maintain existence?
Even though the human mind can hold an immense amount of shit, the room for error is vast. For instance, how many times have you met someone in public only to turn around and forget their name? Does this make you a horrible person? Are you so fucking arrogant and disrespectful that you refuse to make an effort to remember the name of the person you just met, or does it simply mean that you forgot?
We put so much pressure on ourselves and others to be perfect that we forgot we are playing for the same team: an exponentially flawed human race. We react without thinking, speak out of turn, and don't always listen. On the same token, it appears we all want to live in peace and be loved unconditionally. But how do you expect to reach that goal when you are calling friends and neighbors a "piece of shit" for having opposing views?
Here's a thought: What if you took some time out of your day to list the top 5-10 challenges, problems, and issues (in order of priority) that you believe America is facing, and then ask yourself what you are doing to make them happen. Have you tried complaining about it? —because that doesn't seem to be working.