Thursday, October 13, 2016

Cheerleader for Humanity

I'm trying really hard to write something every day. Actually, I write a lot more than I post here on my blog. I have so much I want to say about a number of things. Most of it's not that important, just things that are meant to be positive or inspiring in some way. 

I used to be in an all-girl band back in Texas. We had a great following! I was such a cheerleader that the girls once got me a t-shirt that said, "I'm just one big f@#!ing ray of sunshine!" I resembled that remark. I was never a cheerleader in school, but I suppose I am a cheerleader for humanity. 

I grew up in one of the most amazing places in the world. Some of you may disagree, but I value my upbringing in Eastern Kentucky. I was an only child. I had to be creative and I had to be strong. I didn't have siblings to fight with, bond with, share clothes with or to stick up for me if someone gave me a hard time at school. I was on my own. I invented games and acted out plays in my backyard. I sang for the mountains and wrote a new Grammy acceptance speech as often as I would remember someone else to thank.

Growing up in a place where family is everything and helping people is just a way of life helped shape the woman I am today. Most folks were hard-working, God-fearing, genuine people who just wanted to make a good life for their kids and their community. Out here in this big, crazy world in real-time, I don’t see very much of that anymore. I know it occurs in pockets, but as a whole I see a very self-absorbed and selfish society that can’t put down their phones long enough to have a face-to-face conversation. I’m guilty of that myself some days, but I’m trying to be more conscious of what I’m doing. I want to draw others in rather than push them away by being too wrapped up in whatever electronic device I’m holding at the time.

As an artist, I take on a lot of the world’s pain. I suppose it’s because I create music (which is what feelings sound like) and write about what I observe. I write what I feel and not to feel what’s going on in the world is to not be aware. Extreme consciousness.

I think if we all got on the cheerleader bandwagon and headed on down to Positivityville, we could really make a difference. Am I alone in this thinking? Have we gotten so cynical that we don’t think it’s worth the effort? We’re not too far gone, are we?

I really hope for our future that people we circle back to days gone by and instead of trying to automate life in the name of progress and trends, they stop and take notice that there is no substitute for human interaction. There is no substitute for that conversation you could be having with a 95 year old who has seen everything from the first television to automobile autopilot technology. We have so much to learn from the past. History books have changed. Important information about our history is not being taught. Education has become more focused on test scores and funding and less about creativity and individuality. One size no longer fits all with education in today’s world, so why do schools continue to cookie cut the curriculum? I know people right now who cannot boil water but can write a sophisticated computer program. We explain life skills with CliffsNotes and then act surprised when people get in a pickle by not having the basic information to be successful as a human being.

How can we use shortcuts and expect our future generations to take care of our land, our country and our future? Will they respect elders like we were taught to growing up? Or will they continue to diminish their importance in society with continued reductions in healthcare and housing options for fixed-income seniors? Will they choose to protect our land or sell it off in the name of progress and greed, regardless of the long-term effects on the environment? Will we see more pollution in our oceans? More dumping of chemicals? More oil spills?

I really haven’t become a tree-hugging hippie, but I do know the value of our parks and our planet. And I honestly believe that most kids today do not know that the health of the ocean is essential to human survival. How can we change? What are our takeaways from the things we’ve learned thus far about the new generations?

I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I know I can do my part by being a friend, neighbor and a good citizen. If I see my neighbor’s kids doing something dangerous, I’m not going to just stand there and watch them break their heads open. I’m going to step in and help. If I see a horrific incident, I’m not going to be filming it with my iPhone. I’m going to stop and help. If I see someone in need, I’m going to offer a hand. It’s not that hard to get back to doing human things. It’s not that hard to open up your heart and care about something besides yourself.

Be a good human. Be a cheerleader. Be whatever it takes to make our world a little brighter, a little better. We won’t be here forever but we can change the course of our future by taking action now.

Be good to each other. We’re all we’ve got. 

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