Estimated reading time: 4 minute(s)
One thing I’ve been thinking about quite a lot lately is our current posture as a nation, as a people. From studying forms of education, and specifically researching the lives of the founders of this country by reading from their own writings, I’ve just been challenged by their devotion to learning and their fascinating courage of convictions. And in contrast, been saddened by what appears to me as not only a lack of courage (or even perhaps, a lack of convictions altogether) but really a palpable apathy.
But I could really be wrong.
What I mean is this: Many of us go about our daily lives, really just trying to get by. We go to our jobs to “pay the rent,” we probably have some TV shows we like to watch, maybe some music we like to listen to (though it seems I have fewer conversations about good music than I remember having in the past…), and there are all sorts of video games that keep us entertained (read: busy), but then that’s it. Several of us, if we’re not students or parents of students, belong to some sort of group (maybe Scouts, community sports, a church, even perhaps a political group). But, at the end of the day (literally) we are not very motivated to (1) know what is going on with our neighbors, and in our community, and (2) even less likely to know what’s going on in our country and in our world.
Is that true? Do you notice that, too? Am I just surrounded by incredibly unmotivated people???
Of course, that’s unfair to say. In fact, I know many people who are very motivated to first better themselves, then their kids, then to be actively involved in the lives of their neighbors and friends, and even on a wider scale as a citizen of their state and country. However, they sure seem like the exception.
Why is that? What has bred this sense of apathy into our nation? Apathy about the deterioration of our marriages and families. Apathy about us “settling for less” in so many arenas of life (in our jobs, in the marketplace in general, in politics, in our churches, even in our own life with God)… to me, it seems we just don’t care to fix it.
If you are, what is your motivation? What spurs you on to better yourself and to “love your neighbor as yourself?” I think that’s what we’re doing when we “get involved” in our neighborhoods and communities. It’s the “Golden Rule” in action. If you’re living that, why do you? Why are you not content to just play video games and watch TV and go to your job when you have to?
My sense is that our culture is much more defined by the latter than the former. What I’m hoping to instill in our kids is a strong foundation of being loved by God (just as they are loved by Mom & Dad, but better), being people of character and integrity (knowing what is right, and doing it even at their own personal expense), and being actively involved in loving people as they have been loved (equally without favorites, unconditionally, and selflessly). That’s what we (Jen & I) are doing with every ounce of energy that we have on every day. At least, that’s what we’re trying to do.
But some continue to slovenly linger in apathy.
Is that you? Why? Is that someone you know? Ask them why they don’t care to better themselves, if you’re so bold. (If you do, please do so with a humble, non-judgmental attitude. None of us is inherently better than another, some are just perhaps more self-aware and aware of others, in a good way.)
I’m very intrigued by the character of the people who founded our country. Some may argue, “But they had slaves!” Well, if you read history, there were many who flat out wanted it ended, and others (including George Washington) who “owned” slaves, but never bought any slaves, nor treat them as property, and made sure they were freemen when he died. Slavery is certainly an ugly blemish on our nation’s history, but as with all things there are many “sides” to the story. (Of course I don’t ever condone anyone owning any other person. However, it is also true that there are always more “sides” to the story.)
The courage these guys showed in the face of insurmountable odds. The integrity they displayed in standing up for what they knew to be right, despite the fact that it likely meant losing everything they had, including their lives. And to do it, not just for themselves or their families, but for their fellow countrymen.
I don’t think we have people like that today. At least, I’m not sure I’ve met them.
(No offense to any of my friends who may be reading this.) 😉
I’m not sure I’m them.
So, how do we get past the generations of ingrained apathy? Something like 9-11 perhaps? Maybe. That did seem to draw us all together, and perk up our ears to the current events of the day. We were all one people then, rather than a country divided by “left” and “right” leanings. I would hope that wouldn’t be necessary, but I’m not sure how we lift that (apparent) heavy blanket of apathy, and motivate and inspire each other to betterment of ourselves, our marriages, our families, and our communities. Do you?
More questions than answers here today, but it’s the stuff that is currently ruminating in Greg’s Head. Thanks for reading along, and do add your thoughts to the stew, if you’re so inclined.