So, I have to admit, I haven’t really felt like writing lately, which isn’t usually like me.
Perhaps it is the fun and relaxing energy of the summer? As I now live by the beach, I feel drawn to taking walks, reading and even putting my feet up to relax whenever I can.
More likely it is that my head is processing some of the awful things that are going on today.
Whether it is the incredibly uninspiring political situation;
The horrific massacre that took place in Orlando,
The even more tragic death of a two-year-old to an alligator in front of his parents’ eyes,
Or the “dripping with hate” rhetoric of Donald Trump…
I am simply having trouble processing it all.
I never imagined that I would be witness to such an incredible amount of ugly rhetoric and what I feel is a truly detrimental use of the fear and unhappiness of people to build anger, frustration and divisiveness…not only by politicians, but by people in general.
What has happened to us?
- Compassion doesn’t take away accountability.
To be compassionate does not diminish one’s accountability. We can and should have compassion even when individuals do things that they have to take responsibility for. What has happened that we all feel that it is okay to shame and judge the way that we do.
Honestly, do we all think we are so perfect…so masterful in our own lives that we can shame and blame others for things that we don’t even really know anything about?
I am simply heartbroken about the little boy that was attacked and killed by an alligator this week. What a horrifying experience; to watch your child perish, on vacation, and not be able to do anything about it.
I was even more heartbroken to learn that there were individuals questioning the parents’ role in this, as if they had somehow put their child in danger.
These two people have just experienced the most tragic thing they will probably ever have to deal with…their hearts are broken in ways that most of us will never, ever imagine. Who are we to ever judge them for allowing their child to put his feet in water and enjoy their vacation. Have we all been model parents making no errors along the way? I have taken my eyes off of my kids at the playground when they “could have” gotten hurt in a multitude of ways. But they didn’t. I have also slammed a door with a mirror on it in anger causing the mirror to fall and break into a million pieces, one that cut my son’s hand by accident. Yeah, I slammed the door, and I felt horribly about it, judging myself in the most critical way. Do these things, and many others, make me a bad parent?
People, young adults and children do bad things. They do things that result in unintended consequences and tragic outcomes. Sometimes they are to blame. Sometimes they are not. Either way, there are consequences.
But what gives any of us the right to forfeit compassion for any of these scenarios, even when the consequences are playing out?
Brock Turner did a terrible, unconscionable thing; and unfortunately, he is not getting the consequence he deserves. And while I don’t have much compassion for him, I do recognize that he is a human being….although one that needs to be punished.
I also know that he has a mother. A mother that loves and adores her child. She isn’t to blame for his actions, despite what many might say. And I have deep compassion for what she must be feeling because I, too, am a mother of two boys and can’t even imagine how I would feel if I were in her shoes.
Really, who the fuck am I to judge.
I get it. We all want those who do “bad” things to suffer…to be held accountable for their actions. I couldn’t agree more.
But does that have to come at the loss of compassion? I truly hope not.
- We are part of the problem or part of the solution…so choose.
Yes, you have the right to do and say whatever you want. How awesome.
You can’t have it both ways.
You are either going to be a voice and a leader for creating what you want to see in the world…or not.
Your voice, whether in person or through your writing and social media, can harm, hurt or help. It can enlighten, empower and lead; or it can demean, marginalize and divide.
I ask that you think before you speak or write, and choose what you want to be in this time that needs intelligent, compassionate and resilient leadership.
And, for those of you who have given yourself permission to simply say whatever you want because it is your right…please make sure that you are doing such a “perfect” job in your own life, love, family and work that you can offer thoughts and criticism as an authority.
I hope you will join me in raising the standard…for yourself.
Be a voice to inspire change.
Allow your compassion to drive your action; and don’t think for one minute that compassion diminishes responsibility and accountability, because it doesn’t.
Lead by example and for the greater good.