As we grow up our perspectives change and realizations come in eventual waves over time. When I was young my parents guided much of what I did and didn’t do, and whether I realized it or not I counted on their guidance. In those days others limited me because they were helping me to grow and trying to pass on to me their experience in the hope that I would avoid painful lessons that they had already learned. It was my parents’ love for me that their steered their guidance. Like all children, the results were mixed. My world was smaller and I was somewhat insulated. Often when tempted or facing a dilemma I could say to myself “Mom and Dad wouldn’t like that”, or “I’m sure I’d get in trouble when I get home”.
I grew older and began to gain independence. I started to strike out on my own and learn lessons in a wider world. In my early 20’s I was out in the world and exposed to a whole lot more. At that age it was a common assumption of mine that people who held degrees, titles or positions of authority and influence must be intelligent and competent enough to be in those positions. I also figured there was this big thing called “society” that had a mind of its own and clearly couldn’t be influenced by someone like me.
I grew older yet and through more experiences with those in authority and whose opinions people seemed to follow I slowly realized that not everyone with a title is necessarily an expert. People are sometimes in positions (business, societal, etc) for which they are not really qualified. I came to realize that a “scientific study” doesn’t always mean it is correct. I also started to understand that that ambiguous entity “Society” is not detached from me. I am part of society, and we all make society what it is. With growth and independence also came greater accountability. These days I know my accountability is not for me alone. I am at an age where I feel what I do, what I work towards is for our society as a whole. I know now that things do not change as I would like unless I make the effort and persevere in affecting a difference. I also know there are things out of my control, things that do not change. There will always be people who will not agree with me, there are people who will do very bad things despite our best efforts and always I should listen to the perspectives and opinions of others. One of the things I see in today’s world that concerns me is “Society’s” view of human dignity. There is a paradoxical rift between the popular notion of “do whatever makes you happy” with the truth that what makes one person happy may cause injury to another. Take a moment to consider how we think and act towards each other, and how we think and act as men towards women in particular. How do our actions influence younger males and females. It is good to often take pause and ask are my thoughts and actions self-pleasing or do they support the real dignity of men and women.
I suspect that as I grow older from here one of my greatest values will be to instill what I have learned on to those who will be taking of the reins of change and influence. I try to observe those who are older than I and that is what I think I see. In that regard, my worth will never diminish.
For today, I think I can sum up the most valuable lesson I have learned thus far. There is no one on this earth regardless of title or position who is neither greater than I, nor is lesser than I. In the great scheme of things we are all on the same footing in God’s eyes and we each hold an important position for the sake of humanity.