The world is filled with contradictions. For example, social justice issues seem to cause fear and separation when the primary goal is to achieve harmony and unity. Another example is that we live in a time where “do what you feel” triumphs over “do what is right” while humanity groans at the moral decline. Let’s not forget the shift in society where children are flooded with adult content while expected to maintain their childlike innocence. Culturally speaking, logic has been swallowed by emotion.
But, before we as parents outrage, we too have our own glaringly obvious contradictions. Here are a few as a mom that I am guilty of ten times over: not letting my kids drink Dr. Pepper because it’s not good for them (while I drink it by the gallons), not allowing them to use certain choice words that I find uncomplimentary to their character (while I drop verbal bombs when someone spills a cup of milk for the millionth time), or not letting my kids have too much screen time for a host of justified reasons (while I check my Facebook every 23 seconds).
Simply put, humanity contradicts itself. Rinse and repeat. The “elephant in the room” question that isn’t being asked enough in today’s times is, “How do we move forward knowing that we will always take steps backwards?” Blaming fingers could be pointed all day long as to who should concede and, ultimately, who is really pulling the societal strings behind the proverbial curtain.
The effort to eliminate contradiction is honorable but exhausting. There is a fire that burns within the patriot in all of us that demands justice. We want to see the lives of those we love be better, stronger, and fairer. Unfortunately, that patriot in us is buried deep sometimes and the hits of life smother that fire that cries out for “justice.” We swing for the next best ideal–attention. If only we could capture the attention of those in power, then we could start really making a difference. At least, that’s the story we tell ourselves.
Our energy can only be poured into so many things before the fire scintillates or suffocates. The real challenge comes in knowing where to put our efforts for the sake of our future and our children. Attention will bring notice and consideration, and that is good. However, being the light, instead of fighting for others to notice that light is needed, is the far more powerful tool. Taking the initiative to love, instead of demanding to be seen, will always be the lonelier road because attention helps measure visual progress.
But are we really progressing simply because our cause is noticed? Or, does moving forward really mean that we gave more than we took and helped our society be better instead of being noticed? We each have to decide who we are and how we want our future patriots to remember us. Giving, loving, serving, rejoicing, remembering…these are the actions of change.