There’s two types of people in the world.
The helpers and the complainers.
I’ve surrounded myself, for the most part, with the helpers. The people who rush in to help when there is a problem. I was raised in a police officer family. My moms dad, poppa, was a NYC police officer. He also served in the war. My dad was a marine, as well as a Nassau county police officer. Every single one of my siblings became police officers, and I became a teacher.
We all went into public service, because we want to make the world better. We certainly didn’t go into our professions for the money. I could have made a lot more money in the private sector. But I chose to do what I love, which is make this world better by helping to raise children.
Taking care of others who are family is hard. Taking care of others who are strangers? That takes a special kind of person. Nurses are heroes in my book. Firefighters, police officers, EMS, nurses, teachers… the backbone of our society.
Then you have those who are angry. They hate unions. Love to yell and finger point. When there is a problem, instead of trying to find a way to fix it, they instead take every opportunity to point out the problem and how horrible everyone is and every mistake that’s ever been made. It’s like your friends list on Facebook. You can pour your heart out every day and they just sit back and watch, make no comments of support or love and encouragement. But say something they disagree with? They jump right in and show you how you are wrong a million different ways. Politics? Forget it. Your political views are wrong and you’re a racist. No civil discussion is possible because everyone comes from a place of anger, and you can’t have civil discussions.
I was told advice once… “Speak without being offensive and listen without being defensive.”
Everyone takes everything personally. Drop the ego, and think about the better good for all. Imagine if the “Gotcha!” game became the “hold my hand and lets fix this together” game.
Yesterday was the RunIVMore. The girls and boys cross country team ran in honor of raising awareness for stage four research. I was overwhelmed when the coach came up and gave my family the shirts that the team wore.
Instead of blue and white, they made the team logo pink, teal and green. I brought my ribbons and bracelets and the kids all wore them.
The boys ran first, and we cheered them all on as they crossed the finish line. Then the girls ran, and the neat thing about Indian island is that you can see the runners before they round the bend to the finish line through the trees. We were watching, and all of a sudden we saw a large group of white through the trees.
Suddenly, the whole girls team emerged from the woods, running in. a pack and holding hands. Maddie was in front.
They ran as one team to the finish line and crossed it together. Holding hands, laughing and smiling, with Maddie leading the way. I can cry just thinking about it. Maddie has been running with these varsity girls since eighth grade. I was diagnosed soon after. This sports team has been her outlet. Her coach has been there every step of the way. Her teammates have supported her. It’s been an escape from cancerland. It’s been a blessing.
That’s what sports can be for so many kids. Kids who struggle acardemically, but love to play. Imagine having to go to school every day feeling stupid, but then getting to shine on a field? So you work even harder to make sure your grades stay up so you can play. That’s why I’m so passionate about not cutting sports from our budget. Everyone pays for the kids. It’s how it’s always been. We take care of our young… and our elderly.
“I don’t have kids in school anymore, why should I pay?” What if we take that same approach to the elderly? What if parents of school age children said, “I don’t have grandparents that are alive anymore. Why should I pay for old people? They are angry and always vote down budgets and don’t care about my kids. Screw social security. I’m not going to pay into it anymore. There won’t be any left for me when I get to retirement age anyway. It’s all going to be used up by them. I’m going to just take care of my kids and my own. They don’t want to help our schools even though they got help when they went? Then forget them. Good luck grandpa..”
What kind of society would that be?
One that I wouldn’t want to live in, that’s for sure.
Our children are our future and our elderly are our past. They all matter. The ones in the middle either are the problem solvers or the troublemakers. The ones yelling and screaming or the ones holding hands and saying, “Let’s solve these problems and cross this finish line together. Take my hand.”
I watched these kids yesterday hold hands and run across the finish line together and wished the whole damn town was there to learn from these kids.
We have so many problems. Instead of using your hand to finger point, use it to grab someone else’s hand and problem solve. We can be better than we’ve been.
Unfortunately it starts at the top and trickles down… on both sides. Republicans a Democrats both disgust me. The media fans the flames on both sides. Politicians get nastier and nastier as we get closer to voting. When leaders and nominees get nasty, and the people on both sides cheer it on, it becomes even worse. People go to debates not to learn the facts, which are often distorted anyway, but to see the bloodletting.
Some people love the fight, and probably would have gone to see men and women die in arenas with gladiators and lions all those centuries ago. Me? I would have probably tried to tame the lions and tell the gladiators to drop their weapons and sing instead of dying for sport.
Who are you?
Are you someone who reads Facebook to feel uplifted? Send love to those who need it? Cheer on and like and love people’s accomplishments? Or do you keep quiet and wait for something you disagree with and then pounce?
Do you listen on your tippy toes to other points of view? Or is your opinion the only fact that matters? Do you want to only state the problem, or help come up with solutions?
Would you run ahead of everyone through the woods and try to win, or hold hands with others and make sure everyone crosses the finish line?
I know who I am.
I know who I want around me.
So take my hand and let’s go.
We’ve got a lot of work to do.
May we all drop our weapons and ego and make this world a better place for everyone.
In Jesus’s name, amen.