• Steve Hanson

The Opportunity We've Been Afforded

I was going to write a piece on the manufacturing industry, and the communication, or lack thereof, that tends to permeate the culture in those types of facilities.

Having worked in such plants for the last thirty or so years, I feel more than somewhat qualified to speak on the matter.

But that can wait for another day.

Sometimes, material just kind of begs to be addressed. This, clearly, is one of those times.

As I write this, there have been two mass shootings that have taken place within a 24 hour period, here in these United States.

As you might expect, these shootings are being politicized. And quickly.

I hate to admit this, but for awhile, I had become numb to all of the violence. I think that a lot of us had.

But this...this feels different. It's as if my senses have been reawakened to the pain. And that's a good thing.

Why this feels different to me, I'm not exactly sure, but allow me to hazard a guess.

I was reading the obligatory social media posts today (of which I was a willing participant), and two, in particular, caught my eye.

Instead of immediately preaching from a soapbox, proclaiming loyalty to one particular political party, while denigrating another, or giving the same old "They'll never take my guns from me" speech, these two posts concentrated on one thing, and one thing only:

Those who were here one minute, and gone the next.

Both of these posts could essentially be considered a plea. For a number of things.





Basic human decency

It would seem to me that as a society, we have come up woefully shy in most, if not all, of these categories. At least as of late, anyway.

In what would seem to be a completely unrelated topic, I will soon be giving a presentation to a local organization about bullying, and its long-term effects.

While it's no secret that I have a fair amount of "experience" on the matter, I have nonetheless spoken to students and educators about what bullying looks like today, and what can be done to help fix the problem.

Over, and over, and over again, it comes back to one prominent theme.

Adults. Or rather, the need for more of them.

Now, perhaps more than ever, this world needs calm, measured, rational, ordinary people, who can, and must realize that they are being called upon to do extraordinary things.

And then answering that call, by following through, and making a difference.

People are broken, so it should really come as no surprise that the world we govern is showing the effects.

Herein lies opportunity.

The opportunity for self care, without confusing it for selfish.

The opportunity to help those in need, without needing to enable those who can clearly do for themselves.

The opportunity to count our blessings, without feeling the sense of entitlement that sometimes accompany those blessings.

We are all doing the very best we can, with whatever tools we've been given. But to think that we've all been given the same amount of tools, with the same knowledge of how to use them, is utterly ludicrous.

We are NOT all created equal.

To be certain, we all have our talents, but some of us have been born into easier circumstances . That's a simple fact.

If your proverbial cup runneth over, congrats! I'm happy for you. I really am.

Does that mean that it is incumbent upon you to help those less fortunate?

Well, honestly...No, it doesn't.

But as a simple matter of pragmatism, and to ensure our own survival, it's not a bad idea.

The cruelty that is routinely shown via social media, may or may not be considered funny by you, but at what cost to those who are watching?

And in what way, will that cost ultimately affect the rest of us?

People are hurting, and choosing to spread that hurt in unspeakable ways.

That's not excusing the behavior, it's a reason for it.

We need fewer fashion models (no offense to the industry), and more models of civility.

Our young people should never be told that they must like everyone else's personal choices, but they should be SHOWN that there is a way to disagree in an agreeable manner.

We need parents, coaches, and leaders who say what they mean, and mean what they say.

No single person can help everyone, but everyone can certainly help someone.

Whether they are asking for it or not, there are plenty of folks who could use a hand up.

If you're fortunate enough to be in a position to help, please do.

Random acts of kindness beat random acts of violence.

Each and every time.

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