By Grant Logsdon
The holidays are an important time to bring families and community together. They are a time of peace and love for all mankind. Although this is great, it would be wonderful if we had peace all year, instead of just during the holidays. We can change our world one person, one family and one community at a time.
Mother Theresa said, “What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.”
Let’s talk about families. Families need structure, respect and leaders. Just as families are different, so are their leaders. The family dynamic depends on culture, different geographic area and family makeup. Leadership has nothing to do with age, sex, socioeconomic status, racial or ethnic makeup. It is all dependent upon circumstance within that family unit.
In my experiences traveling throughout Kentucky and other area of the country, I have observed how family culture impacts leadership. I have met families where the youngest family member was the guiding force within the family, sometimes too young to carry such a leadership role, because of their life circumstance. Society may not recognize or view them as leaders, but they are in that particular family. Whether identified or not.
When I think of family it is more than blood relatives. To me, family means calmness, peace, no chaos or drama; it’s basically acceptance and understanding. It’s having people around you that you are at ease with, people who care. I believe that is possible in any environment if people really want it and are willing to work toward it together. It is a personal choice. It takes a strong family leader that sets the stage or paints the blueprint of peace within the family.
I’m not saying it is easy. People will disagree, argue and just be mad at one another. Just because we do not agree does not mean we should turn to spewing hate. We have to learn to agree to disagree peacefully. We have to be able to hear people out and really, really listen even when we disagree. Sometimes when you really listen it can awaken you to be more aware and look at the situation in a different way.
I have met families that were practically destitute but their home was calm and loving. Families in eastern Kentucky come to mind. They are a proud people, and if they welcome you in their home, you are special to them. Anything you need will be provided if they possibly can. They have few material things or services that most of us take for granted, but their home is full of respect and unity. They make the most if what they have and are grateful. I really think that is the answer, simpler lives and gratefulness. Perhaps stepping back in time, going back to the basics of kindness– good manners and love for one another– can mend our families, communities and nations.
It seems to me with the state of our world today, we are all so desensitized that we do not know kindness from evil or the next con-job. We are suspicious of everyone and everything. In my opinion, that has to stop. I don’t blame anyone, unfortunately we have to be cautious and on our toes. We have to be willing to have faith in others and give them a chance.
In order to restore our communities we need events that show people that others really do care. It can be simple inexpensive things like town meetings, old-fashioned pot luck dinners, or ice cream socials; maybe piggy backing on an already planned event. Just get togethers where people could talk to one another and get to know one another.
As we approach the holidays, try to be more aware of others and more compassionate. Smile at one another and say hello, or offer help if you think it is needed. Just spread some happiness and goodwill. Once the holidays are past, keep it up and see if your world is a little better. Happy Holidays!