Nation up to challenges of new year
Have you ever, after a long and unsuccessful project, wanted to throw up your hands and cry, ‘Let’s just start all over’? The ending of 2016 may be one of those times.
The recent national elections have put many folks in a real tail spin. No one seems totally happy about the year-long battle.
For better or for worse, we never start a new year from ground zero.
What a mess it would be if, every time we began a venture, we had to learn all the lessons and background from scratch. Isn’t that what the awareness of history saves us from doing? More input into decision making produces better output.
But, it is also true that the baggage we carry from one experience to another limits our options for the future. It is, indeed, a ‘tangled web we weave.’ I can’t always impact the world around me as I wish I could. Either I am limited or the demands and forces outside my sphere of influence are too great.
The only course I can take to a clearer future is the change I make within myself: New Year’s resolutions.
For years, I have stated the same goals I would like to reach in a coming year: to eat less, read the Bible more and get more exercise. Eighty-one years after I started my life journey, I am still not following my own advice. Maybe I should change the kind of things I put on my New Year’s resolution hope list.
So, here goes. I hope in 2017 I focus on the following things:
Keep an open mind. There is usually more than one way to accomplish a desired mission, and there are always new things to learn.
Keep informed and active in my community affairs. Don’t just grump; jump in and join the effort.
Focus on the well-being of others rather than my own comforts and desires.
Be humble and thankful for the people who surround me and the community and country in which I live.
Plan for the future but appreciate the current moment.
These may sound like goodie-goodie goals, but I think it is hard to incorporate them into our everyday lives. It takes determination, thought and a great deal of self-discipline. Being an alert advocate for what I believe and holding others accountable for being forthright and engaged is all part of my dream. There is no time or place for opting out because things do not go as I want them to.
Our world is in a heap of a turmoil in 2017. Citizens of many countries are trying to figure out what will be the impact of advanced technology. This is a tough and uncharted course we travel. Who would have believed that a crucial election issue would be cyber attacks from other countries?
Likewise, it took me a while to comprehend the nature of what they are calling ‘fake news.’
In addition, the economic impact of our globalization is no longer just an issue for scholars and geopolitics. It affects jobs as well as a sense of future security for many families.
More and more I see played out before us the theory that a high-tech world demands increased personal associations. People feel caught up in the unfamiliar and rapidly changing social and economic conditions, and they want to run for shelter in the familiar and safe. Hence, nationalism arises as a political issue amidst globalization.
A concept I have always remembered from college philosophy class is that the one constant in life is change. If that is true, then how do we find the balance between the frightening changes of an advancing world and stagnation caused by holding on too tightly to tradition and familiarity?
I often think that the extremes of theory or action in any situation are what keep the middle ground motivated. The shouters never get what they want, but they do wake up the more lethargic middle-minded folks. We have just witnessed an example in this past election campaign. Weren’t more people talking and discussing the issues than ever before? Let’s hope that trend continues. If it does, I think we might hang on to our democracy for many more years.
You alone can make your New Year’s resolutions. And only you can determine if they will be kept or thrown out during a busy schedule.
I have great confidence that if we Americans put our heads together, we can make 2017 a good, memorable year. Our words and deeds will surely differ, but our common commitment to the preamble to our nation’s constitution will keep the United States a strong place to make a living and raise a family.
‘We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.’
The devil is always in the details, but we as a nation are up to the challenge.
Happy New Year!