Since the beginning of this 2018, we have had a mass shooting every or every other day in this country (and some days, we've had more than one). Last year, we had more mass shootings than we had days of the year. Regardless of your position, I think we can all safely say, "Enough is ENOUGH! And although I realize that you have the right to own (and in some cases carry) a gun, I think it is time to talk about some other rights too.
Let's start with our children. Children have the right to a safe and secure education. Children and teachers alike should NEVER be worried about going to school. Children have the right to not have to walk through metal detector or be hypervigilant in monitoring the behavior of their class members. They have enough on their plates worrying about testing scores, acne, how to navigate relationships, and just learn to be good citizens. Most importantly, CHILDREN have the RIGHT to LIVE!
After living abroad for about the last 10 years of my life (with short stints in the States), I have come to realize that we Americans are an extremely disconnected, cautious society. To be fair, I realize that the media has perpetrated a lot of the apprehension. But in my assessment, we’ve gone beyond careful to disengaged.
Recently, I move to New York. I have been here for 3 months. While I find it an exciting city, I have also found it to be the epitome of all that is wrong with the world. My journey into this unfamiliar outlook on life started at Starbucks. As anyone who knows me can attest, I am an avid Starbucks fan. I don’t go there because I necessarily like coffee or because Starbucks does or does not represent some moral ground. I went there because as I traveled the world, it was familiar. It brought me a sense of grounding in a new, unfamiliar world. Plus, the baristas were always fabulous and friendly. I knew them. They knew my dog, my drink, and me. It was always a great way to start my day.
Dear Melania Trump,
Please take a moment to read this letter as I think it might resonate with what is within your heart as a woman, advocate, and mother. We don’t know each other, and we will probably never meet. But that isn’t because we run in different circles or because your husband is the President. It is simply because I believe we are defined by the company we keep. It is within this one seed of truth why our worlds may remain separate. That said, I think I can safely say that you have sent the world some very mixed messages over the past 6 months. So, as one strong woman and child advocate to another, in the pursuit of understanding and in an effort to gain some clarity, I would like to ask you some questions about some of your recent choices.
As I have traveled around the world, each new adventure has taken me on a journey of the mind, body, spirit, and soul. Some of the lessons have been harsh learning curves and while others have been glorious windows of possibility and joy! For me, Paris was more than a just window; it was a door into a beautiful world that I will never forget. Some of what I learned is mundane and the other lessons have had a profound impact on me. But each lesson is burned into my memory and branded on my heart.
Now that I am back in the US, I really miss the simplicity and charm of Paris. I also miss the people and the way of life. Being in New York, I am reminded of how disconnected and hurried Americans can be. I watch couples sit together for a meal without even so much as looking at each other because their phones captivate them. People here rarely smile. Most people look stressed and unhappy. People rarely connect physically. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I saw two people hug or kiss. It’s like people have given up on the good bits of life. So in an effort to prompt change, my advice is to live life like a Parisian for a day. Who knows, it might be addicting (or prompt a trip to Paris).
As we continue into 2017, I think we should all embrace the motto “Slow Down.” It seems that with the advent of technology, job demands, the gym, children, friends, and life, we are constantly on the go. Work hours seem to extend from 40-45 hours a week to upwards of 60-70 hours. We need gadgets like iPads, Smartphones, and other “Smart” accessories to keep in touch with each other. We text, Skype, Facebook, and What’sUp each other to maintain the relationships with our family and friends. But where is all the fast-paced living leading us? Sure we might have more money, a fancier car, expensive clothes, a nice house, and the latest gadgets. But let’s do a “real” inventory check on where we stand in our lives. How are you getting along in our relationships? How are your health and emotional well-being? Are you really happy or just getting by? Better yet, when is the last time that you have even slowed down long enough to really contemplate on these questions. If you are like most people, it’s been a long time (if ever).