Tonight I went to the graduation ceremonies at Chattanooga High School – Center for Creative Arts. I was highly impressed with the school spirit there. Community, Creativity and individuality are the hallmarks of this institution dedicated to teaching the arts. One thing that this school thrives on is creating a safe space for kids to express themselves without fear. We need more spaces and places for kids to be who they want and to be themselves. In as much as I am grateful to Red Bank High School for its part in making me who I am I think it would have been good to be in a smaller school with kids who I was more like. I cannot change the past but I can hope for the future for kids everywhere to show the world what they are made of.
High School graduations are happening this weekend here in Chattanooga and it makes me remember those days in the 1980’s when life was simpler or so it seems. As you see from my yearbook picture I was just as nerdy then as I am today, minus the mustache. Do I miss the angst and pressure of those days? yes and no. I don’t miss the academic pressures but the social stuff was alright. I had friends but I found myself spending more time at home than out and about.
We all have times when we were at our best and in high school I was not the best I could be or would be. It is sad when I hear people talk about their days back then being the best of their lives as if nothing had improved or they became better versions of themselves.
For me it was my college days when I flourished. Maybe a different atmosphere and I was a little older. Graduating from high school or college for that matter means that there is a new chapter ahead in your life and you have the opportunity to do amazing things without the restrictions of youth. You become a grown up person and that is when the fun can really begin if you open your mind to it.
So to the class of 2017, you are going into an exciting time. Be willing to leave behind home for awhile and explore what is out there. Hang in there and have the time of your life ahead of you.
Nothing is ever as simple as it seems, nor black and white. However there are some things that I wonder about that are in the public consciousness. There is the pro-life movement, but we have weapons to fight wars and to keep the wild west a thing in the 21st century. Health is everything but not everyone has it or the ability to be taken care of when they get sick. Being well is expensive and medicine is a premium and a hard choice for some. We want the very best for ourselves but will often leave others to fend for themselves because there is fear of losing what they have always had.
People went to one type of school as a kid but that same school isn’t good enough for their own kids. The idea of family is awesome as long as the family looks like yours and not any sort of deviation from the “normal”. I am puzzled by those who want religious liberty as long as its their religion that can have the freedom to do what it wants.
Prayer in schools is still there as long as there are tests being taken in the classroom, so why do we need to have it from one particular faith perspective? There is a universal desire to have freedom but as long as freedom is for you and yours but not someone who just wants the same freedom to love and to live their truth.
It seems like some want life to be simple where everything is as it was years ago when they were the ones calling the shots. Now that they are losing control over the situation now they find themselves desperately clutching onto whatever influence they still have and will manipulate things to get their way because they want it old school.
Nothing is ever as simple as it seems, things are more complex. We have to live to adapt and roll with the changes. Everyone will be better off that way, hopefully.
Just because one is famous does not give them license to get away with things that demean or harm others. Powerful people have great opportunity to make life better for those around them but sometimes they act in such a way that discriminates and abuses. All sorts of people have paid the price for not doing the right things when they had the chance. We live in a world where affluence and influence can do great harm to the innocent among us. I ask what is so wrong with behaving like a grown up and being a force for good instead of wanting to get away with murder. If an every day person did some of the things we see in media they would be locked up immediately.
When it’s all said and done it takes everyday people to get the job done of being kind, considerate and encouraging us all to live together in a safe local, national and global community. Each one of us is a role model whether we like it or not. Your role is to do right by others. Granted we will mess up and make mistakes but its through those times when teaching moments are important.
Doing right means doing good and being good.
Time travel is a flight of fantasy for many. Going back in time to see the past is a wish many could have, including me. The style, decor and fashions of those eras are awesome. However the only direction people can go is forward. No one can go back, you can only move forward. What I am seeing lately is a strong movement to bring back the things of the past that oppressed people and to make discrimination a thing again.
Some folks really want the old ways back and they are selfish enough to impact people who have gained rights and privileges that many have had access to for years. I can only think back to when people of color were forced to drink from separate water fountains or to sit in a separate part of a baseball stadium. LGBTQ folks had to stay deep in the closet due to fear of being separated from a disapproving family and friends. What scares me is the hate and fear of the past is revisiting the 21st century. I am ready to see people have freedom of choice regarding their own bodies and souls. As I have said before as a white, Christian male I have no dominion over anyone especially a woman.
People are people. We should get along. Respecting the life choices of our friends and neighbors should be something we do by default. That is one aspect of time travel when we respected everyone and got to know people where they are.
I am a proud progressive in many things and its important that I do things to give everyone the opportunity to be who they want to be. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness should be a universal thing available to everyone. I think the founding fathers of the USA were on to something and that is one old school thing I can go for.
Yeah, I am a bit of a cliche…a forty-something man complaining on the Internet. Yet I don’t complain about what I don’t have or about my woes (although we all have them) I complain about what others don’t have and what is being taken from them. Our world is so diverse which the norm and not the exception in the 21st century. As an old white guy” I am not threatened by people getting things they need to make their lives better, I am happy for them its a win-win thing for all. Jealousy and fear are two things that are rearing their ugly heads all over today, two dangerous emotions when magnified in social circles. I am concerned that many are suffering because of it.
We live in a world that is ever-changing and there are many that feel left behind…well I would say its time you caught up. What are you doing to make yourselves smarter, kinder, loving? Perhaps you shouldn’t blame others but look at yourself in the mirror and see what is looking back. The world is speeding by and it’s not going to slow down. This goes for me too.