Saturday, October 22, 2016

It Starts with Me

This week was a bit of a doozy.

Between a change in work schedule, a sick kindergartner, a visit to the ENT with my sixth-grader (who shoved a paper wad into his ear and then added insult to injury by impacting it with a Q-tip), an anticipated visit from my out of state parents, working on my grad school course syllabus, and a few crucial missed items on a to-do list...I found myself saying "fuck" both with my inside and my outside voice...a lot.

And it felt good.  Really good.

Until, it didn't.

Somewhere in the debacle of wearing a headlamp and squeezing tweezers into my son's ear to capture the paper wad offender, I was agitated listening to the final presidential debate, playing in the background.

I paused.

Jesus Christ.

How did we get here?

When did it become acceptable for all of us to behave so poorly and to just expect the world to be forgiving?

When did a civil dialogue about the future leader of the free world become a free-for-all?

How did we allow this to happen?

I think that's when I realized, this isn't about them. It's about me.

It starts with the way that I cope with adversity and the choices I make to take the high road or to whine on the sidelines and cry foul play or "no fair."

It begins with my decision to accept responsibility for my actions when I've harmed another, both willingly and involuntarily.

It extends to the apology, even when it hurts to fess up and say, "I'm sorry that I've wounded and made you feel less than."

And it concludes with demonstrating concretely in my actions that my intentions are honorable and that I am willing to follow-through.

I've been so worried that my children are witnesses to the deterioration of one of the most important rights we have in our country...that I've forgotten that my husband and I are really, at the end of the day, their most important teachers. 

I'm not naive to think that the future of the country isn't in a precarious position depending upon who takes ownership of the Oval office, the House and the Senate in January....but I do believe that all too often, we abdicate responsibility and personal ownership for what we can do on our postage stamp of the world.

It's a lot.

Our voices mean a lot...not only in the voting booth.

It means a great deal in the workplace in how we treat our colleagues and how we collaborate or decimate the opinions of others.

It matters in our how we show up, even when we're tired or feeling less than.

It makes a tremendous difference in the lives of our children and how they learn to cope with what is unfair, unjust, or just plain hard in the world.

It matters, this little slice of life.

And so, I turned off the television.  That's just jibberish.  It's not worth the anxiety it produces.  I'll spend my time hugging my sixth-grader, even though, he pulled a dip shit move by shoving paper in his ear.  I'll tell my husband that I'm sorry for being ridiculous over the gutters.  I'll call my mom back even though I know what she's going to say.  I'll help Kate make her lunch even though slabbing peanut butter on another slice of bread feels like moving through quick sand.  And I'll stroke my kindergartner's hair and give her ibuprofen as she nurses a chest cold.

Because, it starts with me.

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