Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Importance of Being Permanent

photo credit: AlicePopkorn via photopin cc

With the recent shooting at a Colorado high school I'm left wondering what is happening in our society that has led to such destructive and violent tendencies. Why are people turning to permanent answers to what otherwise seems like innocent problems? This last shooter—a young man—was angry at his speech coach for kicking him off the team. Everyone raise your hand if you think shooting other people and then killing yourself is a good answer to that kind of problem? Right. It's like one of those greater than, less than problems in math class. Which one is greater? Draw the arrow. Yep. Death and murder is a greater problem than not getting what you want at school. Duh.

So why?

Because people have begun to think all problems end in violence. They can't see a greater solution, and they can't say they're wrong. People are so overcome with the here and now that they are resorting to 'all or nothing' solutions. First is a lack of confidence, then a lack of self-control. You need both in this world, and if you don't have it, find it. Work on it.

I hate to tell the younger generation this little fact, but I have to: Life gets harder after high school. Your problems are more complex, more draining, they involve more people and usually have a deeper emotional impact. High school ain't nothin'.

But you know what else?

Life also get better after high school. Your problems are more complex, but your joys are way more rewarding and tend to last longer.

But let's go way, way back to the beginning . . .

You're born. Yay! You only get one of these so use it wisely. Life is the only thing you're ever really owed—did you know that? You're not owed a cool house, cool parents, nice clothes, a fast car, a sweet sixteen birthday party, good teeth, great friends. Nothing. Only your life.

At first you'll have to learn how to do everything just to survive, and it's really, really frustrating. But if you don't learn, you lose out on opportunities. So, suck it up and learn. Success comes with failure and persistence. Don't blame others along the way. Again, nobody owes you anything. Don't hate other people because they're seemingly more attractive, or richer, or have better cars than you. Hating others makes you ugly. The real kind of ugly.

Learn to deal with your anger. You have no right to walk around being mad. I don't care if you've had bullies, mean teachers, crappy parents—it doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is how you react to the problems in your life. I've had bad days where I thought tomorrow would never come, but tomorrow did come, and I faced it, and I survived.

You're only as good as your worst day. 

Violence and anger are never justified in any situation. The second you entertain those thoughts, you are the bad guy. As long as you keep your cool and rise above the worst of it, you are the good guy.

Do you want to be the good guy, or the bad guy?

Good guys are much stronger than you think. It's hard to be the good guy. Good guys get stepped on, road raged, spit at, laughed at, rejected, hurt—but they rise above it and move forward. Good guys are heroes. They are the real-life Superman.

I'm telling you this because apparently everyone is too busy. Your parents, your teachers, your friends. Maybe they're too afraid to tell you. Maybe they don't know how. Maybe they've never learned.

It starts with self love. I know that sounds like a load of crap, but it's the truth. If you don't have love and respect for yourself, you won't have it for other people. That doesn't mean you are better than anyone else, it means that you understand the value of your life and how you want to be treated. And when you have that, you treat other people the same way. It's all about respect and value of life.

Yours, and other people's.

This is so corny, but I have to say it. I love you. And I want you to do better. Think better, react better. I want you to live long and achieve much. I want you to be healthy and have a happy existence with a home and a family and many, many good years. I love you, because no matter where you came from or how you grew up or what you look like, you are this amazing creature called a human being. And human beings are beautiful.

Have you ever thought about how these conservation groups try to save animals from going extinct? But then when it comes to us, the humans, it's like there's so many of us that no one even cares anymore. Well, that needs to change. We humans are just as beautiful; we are rare exotic creatures. Maybe someone should come and observe us and put us all in a zoo. They could throw tacos and pizza for feeding time, and then an iPad for play. The point is, we are worth it. Humans are no less valuable on this earth than anything else. We need respect, we need care and conservation, we need to survive.

Remember when I said life is all you were ever owed, and so use it wisely? I meant that. But I was wrong. You are also owed love. Everyone deserves love, and dammit, if it feels like no one around you is doing a good job, then you need to be the one who changes that. Show them. Be an example. Live love. Be love. Eventually they'll know so well that they'll love you back.

See how that works?

Never give up on life or love. Never let stupid problems take away your greatest gift. Find ways to rise above. Deal with your anger in a positive manner. Never resort to violence. Don't let negative thoughts control you. Every thought in your head is an action. Think bad stuff: bad stuff happens. Think good stuff: good stuff happens. It's simple.

But . . . sometimes you gotta wait for it. Good stuff takes its time. When it finally comes around, it's awesome.

Lastly, don't spend so much time on the internet. People lie and say the worst things. If you believe half of what you read, then man, you're in trouble. Consider the source. That's what one of my best friends tells me. A lot of the people on the internet are cowards and they're really, really afraid of being judged. So they judge others. They judge you. But they don't know you.

You are beautiful. How do I know this? Because you're reading this post. And damn, it's long. Something in you cares deeply about, not only what happens to you, but everyone else in this world. That's amazing. Everyone should be like you.

So . . . when you are in your worst moment, remember that: how beautiful you are.

And that you are loved.

Now, keep that thought.


  1. Excellent pep talk. I hope its positive message reaches lots of young people. Unfortunately, some of adolescent violence stems from private hells that don't respond well to general concepts of peace and resolution by discussion. Lately, I have closely followed PR efforts by San Francisco PD telling young people it gets better. They are trying to keep at-risk kids from hurting themselves. There's no way to measure their success against a norm, but peace officers I've talked to are convinced the program is effective. Pep talks get people treating themselves and others decently, and get some individuals started seeking help, so I must conclude they save lives.

  2. Thank you, Geo. I hope it helps. These blog posts last a long time, long after my thoughts of the day have passed. Tough, emotional topic.

  3. We were just talking about this (in bed). Lady Magnon was saying how it takes effort to be a 'good' person, but how easy it is to make yourself 'bad'. Hence how few really 'good' people there are in the world, and why there are so many who choose to be 'bad'.

    Well written, Amy. If only your message could reach all those who need to hear it!

  4. Great post, Amy.

    Kids are constantly being inundated with violence through video/computer games, TV, and movies. They say that kids are better marksmen than soldiers by playing many of these games. They watch programs where serial killers are the main characters and shooting and blowing up people is looked on as being exciting. The children portrayed in sitcoms are smart mouthed and rude and get the laughs for being so. Respect for others is not funny or cool. All these things affect young minds and then you add the fact that their parents keep guns in their homes to that mix and you have the carnage in our schools that we see today.

    1. Thank you! Yes to everything you said. I'm also starting to wonder if the medications they shove at kids these days plays a role in this. We really shouldn't be messing with a brain's chemistry until it's fully developed, and even then . . .


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