In Praise of…Trying

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Yesterday, I was shocked to find out that there are twenty-somethings out there waaaaay more cynical than I am.  That realization saddened me to my very core.  I tried to reason that caution is good.  Skepticism is healthy. 

I am, at age 50, something of a wide-eyed innocent, a neophyte in the big bad workings of this big bad world.  I am a full-on tilter at windmills. 

I believe in the inherent goodness of human beings.  When I see or read about something horrific, I am moved.  I want to help.  If I had the power and the means, I would give tons of money to every (legitimate) organization who was trying to fix the wrongs of the world.  Hell, I would start an organization that tried to fix the wrongs of the world.  I would be BFFs with Bono,Oprah, and Bill Gates.  I would rush in, hair flying and voice raised in high indignation.  I would fall on my face 90% of the time.  But I swear I would be a better person for trying.  My efforts would not be for naught.

 If I had the space, the money, and a husband without allergies, my home would probably resemble a local branch of the ASPCA.  I believe that women should make as much money as men for the same work and should enjoy all the same rights as men.  I believe that people of every race, creed, religion, and sexual orientation should be allowed to live in peace and harmony with their neighbours.  I believe that children, especially the children, should have access to medical care, education, housing, clean water, and a mother’s bosom to nestle into every night.   I believe that where you live shouldn’t determine whether you live.

To be a wide-eyed neophyte, one’s eyes have to be open.  In spite of my more cynical friends, I believe that the Invisible Children video KONY 2012 will do more good than harm.  Yes it was simplistic.  Yes it was slick.  Yes it glossed over the horrors of the past 26 years and the horrors to come.  Did it lay out all the answers?  No.   It accomplished its purpose:  it got us talking, it got us moving, it opened eyes.  It made us want to try  to somehow right a terrible wrong that has gone on for far too long.

 My daughter, before yesterday, was more concerned about events on a show called “Pretty Little Liars,” (shallow, vapid, disturbing little show).  Now she wants to learn more about some pretty complex issues in places very far away from her comfortable home in North America.  She wants to try to help; I will do everything I can to assist her and educate her.  

Those who want to change the world for the better are faced with staggeringly huge, complex issues.  Defeat waits for them gleefully around every corner.  Death stares them down.  Naysayers heckle them. But, as my son said (he’s 12), if one person watches that video and comes up with an idea – just an idea – as to how to solve the complex problems facing those in and around Uganda – isn’t that something?

Here’s simplistic for you:  A baby looks from one end of a room to the other.  He doesn’t yet know how to walk but he sits on his padded diaper butt and thinks, “Hey, I want to go there.”  He staggers to his feet, falls down about a 1,000 times.  He doesn’t give up.  He gets up over and over again until his chubby baby feet carry him unsteadily from one end of the room to the other.  One step at a time.  Soon the room is just a room not a huge, insurmountable obstacle. 

Maybe one day that baby will try to change the world for the better.  One step at a time.  One step might not seem like enough and of course, it isn’t.  But it’s a start.  Without a start, we have nothing.

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