What are we waiting for?

By Joe Tassi | Mar 28, 2010

So much lip service is given to the ideals of social change. We heard all about change as the 2008 presidential candidates stumped around the country with their polished, poll tested good for all time zones messages and we're still hearing about it. During the recent Health Care Summit, Sen. John McCain, while addressing the president, proffered another "talking point" filled diatribe, reminding the president that they had both campaigned on change, change he said he was still waiting for. At which point the president reminded the Arizona senator that they were no longer campaigning and that if he was interested in change, change could take place during this summit. If you were like me, that's when you likely tuned them out and went on about your life.

Don't hold your breath waiting for change to have political origins, and don't hold your breath waiting for everyone else but you to change. And don't hold your breath waiting for public education to suddenly recognize the immense role it could play in shaping societal change. Imagine though, if you can, how life might be if public education did change, if at school our children were taught that their happiness, the safety and security of their lives were not determined by the size of a nation's military but by their own thoughts. We could start with how thoughts work, which would teach the mechanics of thought, how it has a direct effect on what we experience. We could teach how to create good relationships and how to be a loving parent, and hey, while we were at it, we could go slap happy nuts and teach them how to create positive self-images and encourage them to believe in and nurture their greatness. Alongside a regular curriculum of math, English and science they could also be taught how to manage finances or how disease can be prevented and cured with healing thoughts and proper diets. And if we dare, imagine a generation of adults who were happy and healthy, who felt good about themselves, a generation financially comfortable, who would grow the economy by investing their money wisely. That would be real change wouldn't it?

We get caught up and lost in the abstraction of ideologies and causes that polarize and then frustrate and anger us. We wait for the Republicans to fix everything and when they fail we wait for the Democrats to fix everything or wait for some other intangible moment out there in the future when change will miraculously occur. And like a car stuck in the mud spinning its wheels we spend our lives in a rut, sunk up to the axle, going nowhere, changing nothing and wondering why.

It reminds me of the story about the man who lived next to the river. He heard a radio report that the river was going to rise up and flood the town and that all the residents should evacuate their homes. But the man said, "I'm religious, I prayed, God loves me, God will save me." As the water rose a man floated by in a rowboat and shouted, "Hey you there, the town is flooding; let me take you to safety." But the man shouted back, "I'm religious, I prayed, God loves me, God will save me." A helicopter was hovering overhead and a guy with a megaphone shouted, "Hey you down there, the town is flooding; let me drop this ladder and I'll take you to safety." But the man shouted back that he was religious, that he prayed, that God loved him and that God would take him to safety.

The water rose and the man drowned and as he stood at the gates of St. Peter he demanded an audience with God. He said, "God, I'm religious, I prayed, I thought you loved me, why did you let this happen?" And God said, "I sent you a radio report, a guy in a rowboat and a helicopter. What were you waiting for?"

The capacity to create the changes we want to see in ourselves and in our families, communities, country and world resides where it has always been ... in our thoughts. What are we waiting for?





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