Time To Make Good On A Dream: Why Good Isn’t Good Enough

We have a problem Houston and every other city, state and country in the world.  News flash, this is not a US problem it is a worldwide problem.

Prejudice (or as my 5th grade report called it Prejudism) abounds and we need to make some drastic changes or we will all peril in an “us against them” fight. The more we divide and decide someone is wrong because of their skin, religion, sexuality or nationality the less humanity there is for everyone.

I was raised to be a good person. My parents regularly exposed us to people different than us by culture and color. We didn’t travel but we had exchange students from around the world living with us for as long as I can remember. One student from India lived with us for years and was considered a part of the family.

My parents also taught us early to be involved and we gave our time to causes they believed in. My father was/is also quite an activist from his youth riding with the Freedom Fighters to leadership in teacher’s unions to now working with men coming out of incarceration and beginning new lives. 

We tease my father all the time that the government must have a thick file on him. My dad spends a lot of time writing to Congressional Leaders, Council Members and even the President about how well or poorly he feels they are representing their constituents. I now believe there should be thick files with all of our names on them!

As I became a parent I too involved my children in causes that I feel are unequal burdens. We spent a lot of time working with homeless shelters, hunger programs and donation sites and I felt good about that.

My children each grew up as strong advocates in causes they felt were unjust and equality was sorely missing. From GLBTQ and women’s rights to marijuana decrimalization they have each been loud and vocal advocates.

I find myself here, in this moment thinking, all that is good, but it is so terribly incomplete. Good just isn’t good enough.

I don’t know if you are feeling the same way or not, but for me it is hard to hear that a black man doesn’t step out of his house without his ID for fear he may have to prove why he is walking in his own neighborhood. It is difficult for me to comprehend why a whole race is being blamed for a pandemic because it came from their region. And there will never be a time or reason that I can understand why someone would be killed for their skin color or sexuality.

As long as there are people deciding that their god, race, color, sexual preference or boarders are any better than another’s there is a whole bunch of work to be done. 

This does not mean to drown yourself in shame because of what color your skin may or may not be. It is not to guilt you into marching or getting on a bullhorn to either state your position or post on social media a square you don’t thoroughly understand.

Guilt and shame do nothing positive and actually prohibit the ability to think clearly on how to move forward. We do not need people acting rashly to assuage their guilt, we need people to stop and think about the world they wish to live in.

There are so many issues in this world today that we need to address in all corners of the globe. I encourage you to take a look around at the world you live in and see it clearly for what it is and how things could be. 

If you think change takes time – think again. In a matter of days we closed down a country and planet! We can do this with swift, thoughtful action and everyone becomes safer.

I encourage you to take some time to dream about the world you wish to live in and then take a step, just one step towards creating that. After that, take another. It can be something that you trumpet from your platform or a quiet letter to your senator or you might just read up on who your local sheriff is. Wherever you choose to make a difference, please start today and keep going. 

We can make a difference by each taking action in our own space in our own way. As Mother Teresa says, “If each of us would only sweep our own doorstep, the whole world would be clean.”

Good just isn’t good enough anymore, we can and must do better.

Thank you #BlackLivesMatter movement for waking us all up to the challenges you have faced for ages and inspiring us all to have a dream that one day we will not judge people by anything but the content of their character.

Excuse me, I’ve got a letter to write!

Can We Have A United Team?

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Have you ever watched a group of six year olds playing soccer? It looks like a flock of birds in the sky; you know the ones, where it looks like a swarm and they seem to move in perfect unison. The entire group dives left then soars right all together in flight.

When birds do it, it looks almost poetic, when kids do it at a soccer game, it looks comical, when adults do it…

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Field of Dreams?

When I look lately at what is happening in the world around me I feel like I’m watching a field full of soccer games played by multiple teams. In each separate game all the children are chasing the ball regardless of their position, on the sidelines there are coaches shouting directions, and all sorts of commentary from the observers both celebratory and derogatory.

We have plenty of players, plenty of coaches and people with opinions on each side of every game but there is not much progress. Sure there is a lot of running around chasing something and observers getting excited about if those chasing the ball are right or wrong in doing so. We have noise, emotion and commotion, but is anyone making a score?

What Position Do You Play?

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So here is what I am wondering. Where do you sit on this field? No matter what your opinion, there is certainly something that you can do that is helpful. Something you can do that will help with education, skill development and ultimately create a better game by improving the players’ understanding of their positions. Maybe it even starts with understanding what position you want to play in the game.

I believe what has been forgotten in this mayhem that is today’s news frenzy is that we all have roles in which we excel. If we each play our roles that speak to our best skills then regardless of the score, there is a well-played game. When games are played well and everyone understands how their role makes an impact we have field of players who respect each other and the game. When the players show respect for their opponent it translates to the coaches and the spectators. It is from this we can all learn and grow and develop into better teams.

United in Civility

I understand we are all concerned about the issues today, so let’s start there. I believe divisiveness is beginning to tear apart this great, united nation and I believe we will all lose if that happens.

I long for the days where there is no name calling in the schoolyard and we each begin to listen to our neighbors again. Stop unfriending and turning away from the differences between us and begin to ask what does our neighbor want and what can we begin to agree on.

When we start coming together again, we can begin to move into the world we all want to live in. No one wants to be called names, no one wants to feel dumb for their opinions and we don’t create the world we want by yelling at each other.

Can You Hear Anything Through The Din?

Getting back to the soccer game – you know on the sidelines everyone is yelling out commands. You also know, none of the kids on the field can hear or are listening for the commands. And then there is this one kid standing right by the net, waiting for someone to pass the ball because they are in perfect scoring position but….

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Where to Start

So I ask you to take a moment to take stock of the position you are in. I encourage you to take a couple of issues that are near and dear to you and really get clear on what it is that you do want to happen. Speak to those issues and maybe reach out to someone that doesn’t have the exact same view and listen. Don’t judge, qualify or argue, just listen for any possible way that you and they have a common desire. I challenge you to find the humanity in the cause and begin to develop solutions and dialog that is constructive towards the world we all want to live in.

imagesI believe that for the values of this country to remain in vision we, as a nation of people, need to constructively identify what has to be done to keep the country one that stands for all it has always stood for. In order for impact to be made on a meaningful level we need to continue to do positive actions that speak to our skills, to be respectful to our opposition so that we can find the best values of this country and move them forward as a united team.  Isn’t this at least worth a try?

I welcome any comments or feedback, I understand this is an emotionally charged topic, but I do truly value all opinions. I respectfully request no name calling or finger pointing.