Being An Instrument Of Change

September 26, 2011 § 2 Comments

In the days since the 10 year anniversary of 9/11, I’ve been pondering what has changed over the last decade and how I should lead my life accordingly.

I’ve returned to Alberta to work, my son has grown up and moved to Edmonton, we have a different dog and changed vehicles a couple of times. New friends have been made and I have less hair and what’s left is sprinkled with what I call Arctic Blond (grey).

The cell phone I said I would never get in the first place has been replaced by a Blackberry (but since it belongs to my employer, I can say I didn’t personally get sucked further into the technology vortex). While the Internet was well into development in 2001, we were not bombarded with the networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn we are now.

On a global level, we have security levels never before seen so travelling by air or crossing international borders is not as easy as it once was. There was once an ad campaign about not leaving home without a specific credit card. Now, a passport is mandatory for even travel within Canada.

Going to a sporting event or concert is no longer as convenient with backpacks and purses being searched.
More terrorist acts have occurred though none of them have caused the death tolls incurred on that grave day in September 2001.

The world has been ridden of terror lords such as Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. There are many others to take their place.

As much as the world is on higher alert, it is hard not to be numbed by the bad news on the nightly news, in newspaper and, increasingly, social media.

The phrase, “If it doesn’t bleed, it doesn’t lead” is very much in vogue when it comes to following the news.
However, while there has been change in the last 10 years – including some for the good such as no smoking legislation spreading to restaurants and bars in our country – one thing that has not changed is my love for life and desire to connect with like-minded people.

As individuals, we can be instruments of change. When you think of it, the dictators mentioned above or numerous others ranging from Idi Amin to Adolph Hitler and Baby Doc Duvalier have been able to rise to power. They made a difference, didn’t they?

But so did Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.

So many people believe they can’t have an impact so they do nothing. Far too few get involved in their community, even in their child’s school activities or help to manage academic performance in collaboration with teachers. Then they seem surprised when Johnny or Mary can’t read effectively when they are about to graduate.

When I see that 61.4 per cent of Canadians voted in this spring’s election, I feel like asking anyone who complains about what the federal government is doing whether they voted. Just one in four voters cast ballots in last fall’s municipal election in Grande Prairie.

I’m not here to preach. There is more all of us can do. But when I see people not voting in droves, the apathy is chilling. How is it dictators in other parts of the world manage to rise to power? I do know that people in other countries are dying for the right to vote.

Our purpose in life should be to pass on lessons learned to the next generation so they don’t repeat the mistakes of the past – or if they do, they do so knowing the consequences.

I grew up in a dysfunctional home. I vowed my son would not follow suit. Now that he has grown, he has the choice to heed the direction of his parents and teachers or make his own choices.

And he will. My hope is that he and his peers take up the torch and improve the world for the next generation.
Every action does counts.

Most often, we just have to look in the mirror, like this quote from actress Lily Tomlin suggests: “I always wondered why somebody doesn’t do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody.”

So, while the world has gotten smaller and everything moves faster, one thing that hasn’t changed is our opportunity to make changes, big or small.


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