Last month’s personal note was a call to action to never give up on hope despite the daily exasperation and despair of living in what often seems like a world gone mad.
It’s completely normal to get overwhelmed by the enormity of all the bad things happening. It’s likewise easy to want to throw our hands up in defeat. Even the most impassioned fighters among us seem to have grown tired or run off to become expats in what seems to be “safer” outposts in the world.
The grass only looks greener. It never actually is. Getting the heck out of dodge, burying our heads in the sand, or anesthetizing ourselves with a variety of opportunities for escapism has become the new American way. But that’s not the American spirit that founded this great nation.
Our American DNA (no matter our ethnicity or origins) is comprised of grit, resolve, and hope.
The Statue of Liberty, one of the icons of our country, has been a beacon of hope for centuries for immigrants and asylum seekers (my Portuguese grandparents among them). The American dream promised new life and victory over tyranny, persecution, inequality, and poverty. While our streets are not actually paved in gold, it was never truly about that. It was and has always been about dreaming big and actually being able to achieve those dreams.
We the People are a beacon of light and hope for the world. Yet, in our conversations with friends, family, and clients it’s hard not to feel that the zeitgeist of our country is trending toward apathy and despair.
That’s why it’s more important than ever to resist the temptation to give up in the face of perceived “inevitability” or the magnitude of overwhelm. It’s mission critical for as many of us as possible to agree to protect the flame which gives off the light of hope that is the American dream. Like a lighthouse attendant, preserving the flame is essential to protect the ships adrift out in a stormy sea.
No matter what the news media may leave us feeling, we are not powerless.
We can still make a difference.
We can be the change.
It starts with all the little things we do each day. Our daily decisions and actions, especially how we decide to interact with each other, will quickly add up to make a difference.
- Do we extend a helping hand or pass judgment?
- Do we reply with discourse or do we explode with anger and violence?
- Do we choose to hug it out or punch it out?
- Do we use words to unite or divide?
- Do we seek to build consensus or assemble an angry mob?
- Do we stand up to injustice, violence, and bullying or do we stay silent out of fear or self-preservation?
- Do we share our table with our neighbors or lock our doors?
These are only a small snippet of the choices we face on a daily basis. Each of these moments can and should evoke a crisis of conscience. We want to protect ourselves but we as humans also have an inherent and primal instinct to help each other. My encouragement is in your daily encounters to not be too guarded.
Safely ignore your instincts.
Help your neighbor.
Choose the good.
The aggregate effect of all the “little, good things” you do each day will have an enormous impact. If anything, it preserves hope in the world. So, never give up on choosing to do good, no matter the scale of it, big or small.
For you alone can be and are the hope.
Keep being amazing.
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Kevin Snyder is a husband, father, and an Orange County estate planning attorney and elder law attorney at Snyder Law, PC in Irvine, California. He's all about family and passionate about estate planning, elder law, and veterans. He founded Snyder Law to help people be prepared and have the peace of mind they are protecting their families and aging parents for when life happens.