Thursday, March 24, 2016

Are Morals Becoming Extinct?

Some blog topics seem to come around again ever so often. Does it mean I'm beating the proverbial drum? Gosh, I hope not. Nine times out of ten I base my blog posts on observations. Truth be told, whenever I'm seated in a room I prefer to face the door so I can be a people watcher. I find people, their reactions, and their mannerisms extremely interesting (and captivating).
Lately when I read Internet headlines, Facebook posts and comments, or observe someone in a store ranting loudly enough for everyone to hear their business I find myself jotting down a few words; just enough to get the creative juices flowing and my fingers typing.
So what's my rant (oops, I mean my 'blog topic') today? Are morals becoming extinct?
Morals and values are things we grew up with. Our ideals, for better or for worse, were molded by our parents, the neighbors, our teachers at school, maybe our pastor, and for sure our society. But I look around today and I wonder. What kind of job are 'we' doing; and by 'we' I don't just mean you and me, but also our society and the media. Many young people today seem to be easily swayed in one direction or another. They like to think they're expressing themselves and have life all figured out, but in reality they're just jumping on someone else's band wagon.
When I was a child and attended summer Vacation Bible School I learned about the Ten Commandments. As a young girl the one commandment that stood out to me then that I felt I could maybe apply to my own life referred to 'loving your neighbor' (Mark 12:31 The second is this, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.').
I see some people today (and trust me, age does not discriminate) who seem to have forgotten their values. The easiest way to honor the commandment is to treat others the way you would hope to be treated.
Would you like to ...
  • be disrespected?
  • manipulated?
  • be talked about behind your back?
  • have friends and family that are not loyal?
  • have people lie to you?
  • be cheated on or out of something?
So ... if we wouldn't like to be treated these ways, why is it okay for us to treat others like that?
Have some of our morals and values become extinct? Do they suddenly not apply to our lives 20, 30 or even 40 years after we first learned them?
None of us are perfect, including me, but the first step is taking the rose colored glasses off and observing ourselves. Sure, it's easier and more convenient to stand back and criticize the way others behave, but it is definitely harder to look at ourselves. They say we can be our own worst critics; how true is that? We'll never see ourselves the way others do (good or bad), but maybe it's time to start.
What values do you see lacking in the world today?
More importantly, how can we be part of the solution rather than the problem?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

So How Are You Doing ... Really?

How many times a week do you run into someone at work, at the grocery store, or while out for a neighborhood walk and in order to make polite conversation you ask, ''How are you doing?" to which the polite response is always, "I'm fine."? You smile, you asked your obligatory question, you waved good bye and then went on about your day. But if you had stuck around long enough the other person might have answered with a different answer; a more truthful one.
Many people are going through difficult times. They may be dealing with grief, an illness, loneliness, sadness, or anxiety. But, truth be told, who wants to get an emotional response to a simple "How are you doing?" question? If we're going to be completely honest; probably no one. We're all busy, have things to do, are on our way to someplace extremely important, and have very limited extra time. So why do we bother asking? Don't we realize that most people can see right through our efforts and know that we're just trying to be polite; after all you were already probably two steps away before you had actually finished the question.
Now, if you invite a friend to breakfast or lunch or out for a cup of tea or a walk and ask the question, then be prepared to stick around long enough to expect a response. We look around every day and see and admire people that we think have it all together, but do they? Or are they just one question away from asking for a tissue because they're feeling overwhelmed? Many people are good at hiding their emotions and some are an open book. Without ever asking, some people you will always know who's sad, who's sick, who's tired, etc. Some people have no trouble sharing what's going on. Maybe that's not a bad thing. Whoever said that we all have to have super powers? Whoever said that showing emotion was a sign of weakness? Maybe some people wouldn't feel as alone or sick or tired or overwhelmed if they didn't feel the need to keep it all inside for fear that someone might think less of them.
We never really know what others are dealing with. We never really know what is going on behind the forced smile. The next time you find yourself asking someone, "How are you doing?", be prepared to actually wait for a response. If the answer is the obligatory "I'm fine.", perhaps ask a second question and then see where the conversation goes. The next smile you see may be a bit more authentic.
Just something to think about.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

In A More Perfect World

There are days we look around and must think, 'Oh my gosh, can the world survive another tragedy?' There are so many things that are wrong today, but unfortunately most are out of our control. We must stand idly by and just wait to see how things turn out.
In a more perfect world there would be no war, no terrorism, no earthquakes or devastating tornados, no incurable diseases, famine, homelessness, no hatred, depression, etc. Like I said, a lot is out of our control.
Then there are the things we could only wish for; things that perhaps with good intentions could be improved upon.
In a more perfect world ...
  • politicians could only talk about their own platforms and the very second they mentioned another candidate's name their microphone would go silent
  • a police squad car would always be just around the corner each time a car ran a red light or a driver was texting while driving
  • people (no matter their race, religion, or view) would always get along
  • a good friend would be your friend for life, not just until something better came along
In a dreamer's world ...
  • we could eat what we wanted and never have to worry about gaining weight or counting calories
  • it would only snow during the night time hours and the roads would always be clear during morning and evening commutes to work
The world isn't perfect and it never will be, but let us all remember that a single difference starts with us. We can be the improvement in anyone's day. We can still control our own choices, our behavior, and our attitudes. Those alone can make the world (or at least our little corner of it) a little bit more perfect.
What would make 'your' world a little more perfect?

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

I'm Waiting For A NEW Kind Of Award Show

After a weekend of star-studded Oscar media I have to ask myself, 'Why do we really care about who wore whose gown and who had what to say?' At what point did we put actors and actresses, directors and producers on such high pedestals? Don't get me wrong I think it's great when a salesman receives an achievement award for having the highest sales, because chances are HE worked his behind off getting the sales. But when a salesman walks forward at his annual meeting to receive his award he shakes hands with the presenter and says 'thank you'. He doesn't start telling us about his personal views of the world's problems, the effects of global warming, the presidential race, and what color skin the award winners do or do not have. No, instead he simply says 'thank you for acknowledging my hard work' (IF he says anything at all).
Now, let's be clear. I have absolutely nothing against the movie industry; I did make it to see one movie in 2015 and I do like the occasional fashion show. I also enjoy Girl Scout cookies; although I'm still sad that they discontinued the square shortbread cookies with chocolate on one side and zoo animals on the other - but that could be a topic for another blog post.
I realize that when a person's profession puts them in the spotlight certain responsibilities come with that light; setting a good example for instance because people may be looking up to them. This goes for athletes, actors, musicians, politicians, etc. But that presents another question, 'Why do we idolize people we don't know, people we'll most likely never meet, and people who basically will never have any direct effect on our lives?' They'll never know me or anything about me. I'm not going to have coffee with them at the local hot spot next week to discuss life strategies, so why should I hang on their every word?' How do I know that what they're saying in their acceptance speech wasn't just another script they memorized for when they were in the spotlight? If I'm going to listen to them I want them to be real ... no glitz, no glamour, no cameras, no spotlights ... I want them to sit across the table from me with their sleeves rolled up and tell me what's REALLY on their mind. I want them to be relatable.
What do I really want? I want there to be recognition for the firefighter that just pulled an elderly man out of a burning house. I want our military troops to receive the respect they deserve for putting their lives on the line every day so that you and I have the freedoms to go after our dreams and perhaps take a night off and go to an occasional movie for relaxation and pure entertainment. I want an award show that shares inspiring stories of REAL people doing good deeds. I want the average person to be recognized for being the best teacher, or police man, or hairdresser, or waitress, or realtor, or secretary, or student, or volunteer, or grandparent they know how to be. I guarantee THESE people are changing people's lives in some very real ways.
Who would you like to see recognized and why? I may not have the ability to run a nationally televised award show, but I do have a blog that real people read. I encourage you to make your voice heard. Who can we recognize today?