Warning: If you're not in the mood to listen to me preach, then read no further. 'Cause I'm about to preach to the freaking choir like it's nobody's business.
It's not often that I get really fired up about social issues and debates. I stand by my political beliefs, but I'm not really interested in arguing them. I'm just not that passionate about it, and frankly, politics bore me. I have opinions on abortion, gay marriage, and gun control, but again, not gonna engage in a heated battle over them.
But, sometimes, something fires me up just enough that I write ranty, ragy, preachy blog posts. And that is what's happening right now. From time to time, I hear about something that strikes me to the core. It enrages me, it saddens me, it inspires me, or it disgusts me, and I can't stop thinking about it. For instance, if someone has a seriously ill or dying child, it hurts my heart to imagine what that family must be going through, and I can't get it off of my mind unless I write about it.
In the past few weeks, I have had three friends come to me with horrible things that have happened in their lives, and it all makes my blood boil. Why? Because their lives have been forever changed, and they are sorting through terrible messes, by something that someone else did. Someone else made a choice, and now my friends have to deal with that choice. And, honestly, it makes me sick. It makes me sick to look at these people I care about, who are hurting tremendously, from something that someone else did to them that they had absolutely no say in, and know that their pain could have been avoided.
The worst part? All of these events involve children. And that makes it even worse.
For some reason, our society is all for selfishness. Not selflessness. We are constantly told that OUR needs come first, that we deserve to be happy at all costs, that we should put ourselves before others, regardless of how it affects anyone else - even our children. And, I'm sorry, but I truly believe you lose the right to be so selfish once you have children. Agree with me, disagree with me, I don't care. This is something I believe vehemently. You lose the right to choose your own selfish needs over anything else once you have kids. You owe it to your kids to make good choices, to make the right choices.
So, if you feel like robbing a liquor store, and you have kids, you don't get to disregard their well-being and make the choice to do what you want. Feel like getting high? Tough. You have kids, and your job is to look out for them and do what's best for them. Unhappy with your life? Figure out a way to be happy that won't hurt others around you. Unsatisfied with your marriage? Tempted by another? Too bad. You owe it to your kids to make the right choice and to try to make it work at all costs. And, to me, there is no reason that can possibly justify any of these things - these things that will hurt and devastate the people around you. Nothing.
And if one more person says to me, "Oh, I know someone who went through something similar and their kids are just fine," I will scream. Scream, I tell ya. Of course kids end up okay - they are resilient- but that's not an excuse to do whatever the hell you want. Just imagine how much MORE okay they would be if they didn't have to go through what they did. Imagine how much better their lives would be if their needs had been considered in the first place - not after the fact.
The worst part is that all of these things are widely accepted by our society. And, by accepted, I mean no one says anything about it. We try to stay out of the affairs of others because we think it's none of our business. But, maybe that's the problem. The problem might just be that we're so afraid of offending others that we don't say, "Hey, what you're doing is NOT okay. It's not okay." We make excuses, "Oh, she wasn't happy," or, "He made a mistake." But, like I said before, there is no justifiable reason you can give me that warrants you doing something in which you knowingly and willingly hurt others. No. Justifiable. Reason.
We justify racism, we justify hate, we justify greed, we justify addiction, we justify adultery, we justify corruption, and none of it is okay. It's not okay.
Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." A-freaking-men.
We try to blame others, we try to blame our past, we try to blame our present, we blame our parents, our spouses, our teachers, our friends, our socioeconomic status - but you are responsible for the person you are and the choices you make. Not anyone else. No one can make you make a terrible and hurtful choice against your will. At the end of the day, your actions are a reflection of the person YOU are. They are not a reflection of anyone else.
And, if it's the last thing I do, I vow to be that voice for my sons. If they do something in which they knowingly hurt someone else, you bet your sweet bippy I will say something. I will tell them that they made a bad choice, that they knowingly hurt others and that's not okay, and that they need to rectify their mistakes and make better choices in the future. Because, at the end of the day, I don't know that anyone else will. And, I don't want my children to be so selfish that they devastate the lives of others without thought or care. That they intentionally hurt other people because they're so selfish they make up some bullshit reason that half of their family and friends willingly believe. I want them to make good choices, to work hard, and to not give up even when things are tough. And, so help me if it's not the last thing I do on this Earth.
But most importantly, I want them to still have faith in people - to see that there is still a lot of good out there in the world. But, I'm losing some of that faith myself as I see the selfish acts of others day in and day out, as I see so many people hurt unnecessarily, as I watch people make bad choices with no remorse or no acknowledgement or no desire to better themselves in the future. Just excuses.
Well, that is my rant. If you don't agree with me, I really don't care. Enjoy!
Get thee to an independent bookstore.
53 minutes ago