This I Believe

Virginia - Knightdale, North Carolina
Entered on September 12, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50

How we spend our time shapes who we are. We must ask ourselves whether or not what we are doing is loving or wise. Simply having the freedom to do a thing doesn’t justify doing it. Being able to discipline oneself for the benefit of others is the very essence of maturity. Shantideva said, “All the joy the world contains, Has come through wishing happiness for others. All the misery the world contains, Has come through wanting pleasure for oneself .” What examples are adults, entrusted with the awesome responsibility for their care, to the next generation who will impact our society positively or negatively depending on what we expose them to. Are they being enriched in spirit, mind and character? We all need to think for ourselves, and not just do what is considered cool or popular. Transcendentalism and literary trends should be evaluated in the light of edification. When awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, the Dalai Lama said, “…For if we each selfishly pursue only what we believe to be in our own interest, without caring about the needs of others, we end up harming not only others but also ourselves…” Hopefully, seeking our own pleasure is not the measure of our lives.

Albert Einstein said, “The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” We have rebelled against our civic and social responsibility, and are forced to live in the pit that we’ve helped to dig as a result. We’re apathetic, indifferent, sluggish, and retreating when what we need to be is alarmed, outraged, vigilant, and ever on the attack. Our culture is rotting. The narcissism practiced by most is the fundamental problem in our world. Listen to the lyrics of popular songs, pick up a book or magazine, view a movie or television show. Look around at the immodest way females dress. Pay attention to the violence permeating our communities, the rampant availability of pornography penetrating every home via the Internet, the disrespect and lack of courtesy displayed by all, and the neglect of and abuse directed at women due to the dehumanizing influence of pornography. Then consider that perhaps we are allowing the wrong input in our lives and the lives of those who have been entrusted to our care. Words like diversity, pluralism and tolerance have anesthetized us to the reality of good and evil. Tolerance is the cultivation of an attitude of indifference to things we see happening around us. In the name of peace, we tolerate evil. We dare not stand up for what we believe for fear of being labeled intolerant.

Now, ponder this, if we don’t stand for something, we will fall for anything. William Jennings Bryan said, “The humblest citizen of all the land, when clad in the armor of a righteous cause, is stronger than all the hosts of Error.” We are called to be intolerant in love.