Commentary, Life

Being the Solution

In today’s day and age, we are faced with a number of considerable challenges. It is undeniable that our country and our world sits at a precipice of change; the question is, “What will that change be?”

Here in America, we have just witnessed an election which highlighted the extent at which our country is divided. Witnessing the buildup which occurred before the election between many of the candidates and races – including the Presidential race — was a discouraging and drawn out process. Little meaningful dialogue occurred. Threats were the standard form of communication as well as dragging the other person’s name and character through the mud.

Is this what we want our country to be like? A forum of insecure, power-hungry leaders who rule by intimidation and threats?

Regardless of the outcome, this was quite a depressing display of the American political condition.

However, this post does not deal with politics. It deals with the Solution. I happen to hold the conviction that the Real Solution is not political. It is personal and spiritual. The individual is the catalyst for change by being the change that is necessary. In fact, it reminds me of the old American saying, “If you want something done, then do it yourself.” In this case, however, I will extend it to, “If you want something changed, then be it yourself!”

I believe this is true and possible. When an individual holds onto the conviction of something strongly and steadfastly, he is likely to surmount obstacles and see his conviction come to pass. It is not by idly waiting around that things get done.

The process I am referring to relates to being the change we want to see. In this case, being the solution.

What is the solution? We could hold up to the light our greatest truths and highest convictions and state that those might be the solution. Of course, religious people tend to do that by stating that their religion is a highway to change and solution. But taken a step farther, how do we meet on common ground where dogma and rites and other forms of separating practices, do not hinder us from meeting at an agreeable place?

It is here where common sense prevails. We all know that the word “love” holds high regard in this world of ours, yet how many of us truly practice it as a way of life, a daily conviction and firmly held onto mantra?

It seems to me that many of us would agree that it is a high and lofty ideal, but in reality we may not be pursuing it to the degree and with the zeal which may be sufficient enough to bring about substantial change of hearts – in both ourselves and in the world around us.

So the change I am referring to, although it can be contained in that one word – love, is reflected in many other ways and in many other facets. Perhaps this is the new America, the America we need. When people need something done, we get up off of our arses and do it! We look at our values and truly examine them, and determine if they fit in with our picture of what we think real love and care should be? For example, does the accumulation of wealth, while watching those about us suffer from hunger and homelessness, either in the backyards of our cities or in the global neighborhood of other faraway lands, fit into our picture of living our utopia?

And this is only brushing the surface of a deep and troubling condition: we have lost our way. We need to find ourselves again. We need to quit thinking about our money and our bank accounts and our greed, and start thinking about our fellow brothers and sisters on this planet; the one family that God has given us in the here and now!

It is absurd that we think our actions do not mean anything. Of course they do! By not acting, we have acted; and by acting “wrongly” we have shunned a greater truth. Let me share one example. I have worked as a caregiver for young children for many years. However, I could not afford to do it full time because it basically pays minimum wage. I am talking about caring for the children of our working parents, most of them professionals. And yet, the irony is that our children are by far our greatest possessions, as any parent knows. We do not possess them as material items, we possess them as living offspring, and we cherish them with only the unique love a parent feels – a love which willingly gives sacrifice on a daily basis.

Yet, somehow, we have managed to make the childcare industry in this country at best a second rate job. Most positions are filled by young women who know they care and love for children, but the industry does not promote itself to attract quality caregivers. It does not reflect the value we put on our children by the amount we pay these caregivers. As a result, schools suffer along trying to make ends meet and we barely manage to get our children through the day in some cases. This is not right. We pay professional athletes huge sums of money; Wall Street bankers could finance an entire preschool for a year, just from their bonuses! And yet, the picture of taking care of our children while we are at work, remains tilted on the wall.

What is this but not a mix-up of  values? This is a highly relevant example of what I mean by change is necessary, and we must be the change. We must tell ourselves and our communities what is important and then we must aim to live by that way. Not just brush it under the carpet any more.

Be the change you want to see. Live the solution. Live in the solution with positive action.

Respectfully, Tom

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