In the aftermath of recent events, I’ve been a bit of a quiet observer, reading and thinking. So many asked, “What do I tell my kids now?….What is going to happen to us?….What is going to happen to this country?” Meanwhile, others smiled in triumphant relief, “Thank God!…Get over it!…The country will be made great again!” On this Thanksgiving Day, I was finally able to synthesize my observations and thoughts into a message that attempts to respond to the whirlwind of emotion, drama, pain, joy, misdirection, confusion, confidence, hatred, satisfaction, concern, elation and fear that we’ve been forcibly immersed in for the past couple of weeks. I’m wondering if in the joy of getting exactly what we wanted, the disappointment of not getting what we wanted, or the apathy grown out of disillusionment, we are missing a golden opportunity for ourselves, and in turn, our children.
The opportunities I see are many. But they require us to challenge notions that we’ve likely held onto for many years. For example, the notion that our success and destinies are directly linked to or determined by what president is in the white house. When we concede our destinies to the result of an election, what are we saying about our individual role in determining our destinies? What are we saying about our intent to be successful? What are we saying about our confidence in our own ability to achieve our goals no matter the odds?
What message do our children receive if they look at our faces and see despair, hopelessness, and fear over the result of an election? Conversely, what message do our children receive when we respond as though our lives have been rescued from sure ruin due to the result of an election? I suggest, that across the country, we have sent our children the message that our present and our future are greatly in the hands of politicians, and not ourselves. We have sent our children the message that the ultimate control of our destiny is not the universal God, or even ourselves, but the government – led by politicians.
I have challenged myself to pivot from these messages toward one of self-empowerment and self-determination. This does not mean that we operate in a vacuum, ignorant of history and pretending that the realities of our history don’t directly impact our opportunities and everyday lives. It does mean, however, that we must teach our children a few very important things:
- No politician will ever deliver you the freedom, prosperity or success you desire or think you deserve absent your own self-determination;
- It is our individual responsibility to identify our goals and dreams, as well as the ideas things and people that are obstacles to those goals and dreams, and chart our courses; and
- Seek your life’s purpose, not a job, a degree, or a completed checklist that you’ve been taught defines you or your value. In doing so, be self-driven, self-aware, and unyielding to any circumstances meant to derail the fulfillment of your purpose.
Our futures – and theirs – depend on it.