Today is the first full day of Spring, so I have to wonder how many times I will hear how bad this past winter was? The Covid pandemic seems to be waning and the former near catastrophic numbers are down significantly, and we are already seeing how our current government’s administration is taking credit. Businesses are slowly on the rebound, and even though not yet back to pre-pandemic levels, they are still struggling to get people to work; yet a recent survey of all Americans indicates that we are all far busier now, than ever before with zero time for anything but work and sleep. Diversity and inclusion are the buzz words for today in an attempt to show that all people are equal and valued, yet we then have to put labels on everyone.
The quick answers, to the above statements, ACTUALLY are:
· It actually was a fairly mild and uneventful winter
· The vast majority of the Covid improvements were initiated before the current administration
· We are not currently busier than ever before, we just all use the “Busy” buzz word for various reasons and motivations
· All people are equal – no matter how hard we try to say they are not
Why do we feel the need to exaggerate everything? Don’t we realize that such exaggeration actually creates more challenges than needed, like the need to “label” everything and everyone?
For example; Currently congress is having hearings to approve the next Supreme Court Justice. This noble cause is a core foundation of our government and is clearly critical to ensure we have qualified justices sitting on this high bench. Yet as I hear the news, read the press, and listen to the questions of candidate Ketanji Brown Jackson, all I continue to hear is inuendo after inuendo about her blackness and her womanhood. How black or not, do you have to be to be a good justice? How true to your gender do you have to be to make clear, informed, and intelligent decisions? I’m not pointing this out to say she is or is not qualified, I’m just pointing to the labels being used.
Another less controversial topic is the weather – my, we all seem to be experts on the weather. This amazes me because even the educated true experts, only get the long-term weather forecast correct as often as a great baseball player gets a hit; 30% of the time. Maybe it’s because it’s something we all can talk about or a good conversational ice-breaker, but the fact is, we don’t really know the weather as much as we profess.
An example of this is: Two weeks ago, after a couple of 55–65-degree days, we got snow flurries, and a “flurry” (excuse the pun) of common comments occurred; Isn’t it unusual to see it snowing in spring. Yes, I understand the comments, yet they are in error. First, it’s not at all unusual – in fact we average snow fall in March and even in April – we AVERAGE snow fall in these months which means its common. Secondly, two weeks ago it was still Winter, even though the not uncommon nice temperatures didn’t make it feel like Winter.
A third example is what people say and the words they use. Sunday, I heard a football player say how happy he was to be signed by his new team and to become a part of the community. Yet the following day all I heard about was how, what he didn’t say was more important than what he did say. Really??? How can one person possibly think through all the possible assumptions and exaggerations that can be made, to make sure they comment on all potential views of their comments. Last week, I posted a congratulations to a friend who was named Athletic Director of the year, from my former High School – does me congratulating him, mean that I think all other Athletic Directors are sub-par performers? NO – of course not. How many countless times have we heard and seen someone totally ridiculed for an honest and true statement that offended some one or some group. Nine times out of ten, what they said was not the issue, but what others did to twist their words into something not stated, was what became the focus.
So why do we feel the need to exaggerate? Aren’t a candidate’s qualifications the only criteria for doing a particular job? Isn’t the weather exactly what it is, no worse no better? Don’t our words have meaning and importance? YES…YES…and…YES!!!
To analyze me as a white, stocky, older, male, is to create the possibility of bias or discrimination. I am a person, a human being created by God, and my name is Kent. It does not matter if I’m white, nor does my size, age, or sex matter. I am what God created and anything short of, or more than, this is quite frankly unimportant, and I would argue more disrespectful. Ketanji Brown Jackson is a candidate for the Supreme Court and her experience and ability to know and apply the laws of our country is all that matters.
The weather is what it is – some days more appealing to some, and other days more appealing to others. There are people who like a rainy day, like snow, like it both quite cold and very hot, but those who embrace the weather are not concerned with the fact that a certain day at 2:00pm was the windiest day ever recorded for that exact time of day, of that month, and that year. Like wind chill, the temperature is what it is, or is the temperature different for those is the wind than it is for those who are not. Is the temperature different if you’re behind a wall and the wind is blocked? What if the wind is gusting at the time? Do I need different wind chills for all these examples? i.e.
· Tomorrow the high temperature will be 42°, the low temp will be 28°, the windchill will be:
o 28° if the wind is blocked
o 22° if you’re in the forecasted wind
o 18° if the wind is gusting
o 24° if you have a coat and sweatshirt on
o 12° if you are wearing sandals, without socks of course 😊
I have friends and colleagues. I don’t have my white friends, my black friends, my Hispanic friends. I don’t have my smart friends and my less intelligent friends. I don’t categorize them as my friends that are good looking or not so, nor my friends that are male and/or female …I just have friends and colleagues. If you have a close friend or colleague, do any of those label’s matter?
I hear words and know their meaning. If I hear what someone says, I know what their words mean, and thus what they mean. If I read it in print, I reserve my opinion because we are often guilty of exaggeration, but If I hear them say something, I know their view.
I experience weather in all it’s glory. Sure, I have preferences, but I see God’s beauty in all types of weather, even the storms.
So why must everything have a label or be exaggerated? This is a human trait that places value, importance, emphasis, or some other qualifying statement onto things we feel need embellished or exaggerated. But this is not God’s will or desire.
Condoleezza Rice was a successful Secretary of state and is a successful Denning Professor in Global Business and the Economy at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Colin Powell was a successful General and Secretary of State.
Sarah Palin was a successful Governor of Alaska.
Ronald Reagan was a successful actor, Governor of California, and President of the United States.
Mother Mary Teresa Bojaxhiu was a successful nun and missionary.
Jack Welch was a successful business leader and innovator.
Malala Yousafzai is a successful humanitarian
Billy Graham and Martin Luther King Jr. were successful ministers and missionaries.
Jackie Joyner-Kersey, Bill Russell, Peyton Manning, Simone Biles, Bruce Jenner, Lindsay Vonn, Edson Arantes do Nascimento (Pelé), Tessa Bonhomme, and Roberto Clemente were successful athletes.
There are thousands upon thousands, correct that, millions upon millions of PEOPLE who are, or have been, successful at one key thing or at many of life’s endeavors. PEOPLE, not races, not ages, not men or women, not overly or under educated…just PEOPLE, doing their best to honor God, their families, their countries, and their friends.
When you read through the names I’ve listed above, WHAT do you see – WHO do you see – WHAT picture do you imagine or think of? Because of “labeling,” “exaggerations,” and “embellishments,” you probably see race, gender, age, looks, or some other label the world has placed on these PEOPLE. But I have read quotes from each and everyone of these people, where they emphatically stated just being themselves and doing their best was all that mattered. Sure, they all acknowledged that the world looks at these other traits, but that these traits never were as important to them as their mission, their message, and their performance.
So, be careful when you exaggerate something, because maybe it’s not as good, or bad, as you’re making out. Because that “thing” is what it is, and does not need to be better or worse.
Use care when you label some thing or someone because what you are saying is that thing or PERSON is not as valuable, or important to you, without the label.
Yes, making these exaggerations has become common place – it is a genuine human trait. But simply because we can explain why, does not mean it is a good trait. Love God, love your family, love others, and remember that God created us all to live in equal harmony and to love one another. Anything to the contrary, is the world’s goal, not Gods.