The cynical, jaded, sarcastic, and splitters of our culture seem to have tipped the balance of our humanity in a direction that celebrates celebrating the more negative sides of our society. Now wait, I love sarcasm and take pride in teaching our girls how, and when, to use it. But, thrown in the brain blender with the previously mentioned and spewed out on street corners and social media sites makes for a tough road when working to bridge gaps, find the love in society, or just get through our days.
I’m struck by folks who twist a situation to complain or berate a group of people. Take the most recent death of an actor, whom I’m extremely fond of, Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Do we need to call him a druggy and berate his memory? What good is gained by airing-out our feelings regarding a person’s unfortunate addiction, perhaps, to drugs or alcohol? Instead of attacking the person and people who are inspired by him, could we, if we are angry, direct that in a positive direction and further open the conversation regarding drug addiction?
I think we need to make showing love “cool” again.
I think we need to make showing love “cool” again. Not love that shows itself by avoiding reality, though that can be nice. But, the real love that lives in every long-term relationship that we all cherish at some point in our lives, some of us our whole lives. A love that roots itself in listening, acknowledging, understanding, and believing that at every turn we are all doing the best we can.
Are we? Perhaps not, but if we believe we all are then that reality will supercede the belief that we aren’t and create a new reality. Will we disagree? Of course. I love playing the devil’s advocate and creating conversation that counters the course of a friends thoughts. Disagreeing and blindly hating are two different things.
I’m reminded of two things while I write this, Atticus Finch’s, well Harper Lee’s, simple yet perfect reminder “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” (Amelia and Hazel thought that was gross until I explained what it meant.) And the Velvet Underground’s “I love you”.
Those trusting faces we wake to every morning, the young, joyful, and easily amused, with their honest questions, sincere reactions and open eyes. They inspire these thoughts on love, and stoke the fire of changing my negative ways, by working to view my surroundings through their eyes. We create what they see, and ultimately how they interact in the world. I hope to explain that life isn’t always cherry blossoms and sunshine, but show them the way to navigate through any road in life is with love.
Andrew Meyer is a Special Education teacher from Madison, Wisconsin, whose wife’s job relocation changed their family roles and physical location. He's now a stay-at-home dad in Madison, Alabama, to two awesomely creative, sometimes challenging, and mostly sweet five and two-year-old girls who fill his days, nights, and in-between spaces. When with or without them, he writes, works-out, wonders, wishes he wouldn’t worry, wrestles with his wife’s commitment to her job, and listens to music. You can also find him at www.papasense.wordpress.com, on Twitter @papasense, and Facebook.