Be the Change You Wish to See

Friday, December 14, 2012, 27 people were killed in a shooting at an Elementary School. 20 of the people killed were children. It breaks my heart to hear about any loss of life, especially when the loss of life is the life of a child. These children had futures as bright as the stars, and now are not given the chance to grow up; they are not given the chance to change the world. These children had all of life to live, all of life to experience, and in an instant, it was all gone.

It is not just about the children that died either; it is also about the children who survived. Those poor kids, who are still babies, should have had years of innocence left before they realized that life can be cruel. These are children who still believed in Santa Claus, magic, and wishing on a star, whose biggest hurts could be fixed with a Band-Aid and a hug. These babies are too young to be experiencing this kind of grief, pain, and heartache.

It is not just about the children either; it is also about the parents. Parents should not have to bury a child because of life lost at the hands of another. Parents should not have to remember Christmas as a time of grief and mourning. Parents should not have to bury a part of their soul. Parents should not have to have these conversations with their children when they ask why their sibling is not coming home.

It is not just about what happened; it is also about how we move on. It is about how we change. This is not the first time this has happened, and it probably will not be the last. Violence has always been a reoccurring theme throughout history, not just in our society but also around the world. Wars and Genocide, Shootings, Murders and Violent Revolts have rocked the world while trying to solve problems.

I do not know enough about society to start making policy. But I do know about right and wrong. I do know about pain and suffering. I do know that the past can influence the future, and I know that the best way to learn is to look at our mistakes and ask ourselves “what can we do better next time?”

As children we are taught that violence is not the answer, but as soon as we reach adulthood it seems to become the answer. We say to other countries, “don’t mess with us because our weapons are better than yours.” We go to war to prevent future violence. The reoccurring theme is that violence leads to violence.

How many more innocent lives are we going to let be lost before we actually do something? Change starts with us. It starts with you and me deciding that enough is enough. Violence is not the answer; it is the problem.

It starts with you and me putting down our hate, weapons, and fists, and picking up our forgiveness, pen, and microphone. It starts with you and me deciding that our words are powerful enough to change the world. Words combined with actions are more powerful than wars will ever be.

Learn a lesson from this.

Learn a lesson from the first thing my parents ever taught me: “Use your words, Kaleigh. People will understand you much better.”

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Today is a Present

Puns are great, and so is sarcasm.

But that’s not what this post is about.

This post is about today and what a gift it is. You see, as humans, our lives on earth are not determined by us. Sure, we can decide what we do, but we do not decide when we get to live or die. I would have loved to be born in 18th England, don’t ask me why, I have no idea. Obviously, that didn’t happen. I was born in Western NY in 1994. How boring!

The past:

It’s not something we can change. We can’t just somehow bend time and watch our life flow in reverse and stop at the exact moment we wish to change. So why wish that we can? Is it because we as humans like to be in control? We want everything in our life to go as we want. And when it doesn’t, we wish it to change.

The future:

People plan their future to a tee. They plan where they’re going to live, what job they’ll have, how many kids they’re going to have.

I’m sorry, but life doesn’t work that way. Not to be pessimistic, or a dream crusher, but life throws us curve balls. And when these curve balls come our way, we throw temper tantrums.

Is it some fallacy of humans that makes us unable to accept the fact that us humans are powerless when it comes to control of our lives? I don’t know.

Why do we try to change the past when our own lives hang precariously in the balance? I mean any one of us could be gone tomorrow. We have almost no control. So why try to take control. We can’t change our past, nor can we know what is going to be our destiny.

I don’t know who first said this quote, but I first heard it in the move “Kung Fu Panda.”

“You are too concerned about what was and what will be. There is a saying: yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the “present.”– Oogway.

“One often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it.”–Oogway