Brand You

They say that love makes the world go ‘round. I think a kind word does too.

A kind word plays by the same rules as love –it considers someone else’s interests as much, if not more, than our own. These days we sure could use come kind words in our world of agenda-promotion.

On a daily/hourly basis we are bombarded by the exact opposite from the top down. The political debates have been a free for all of me, me, me – listen to me. I’m right. You’re wrong –without even slowing down to listen or say something kind. Saying something kind might appear as if there’s a chink in the armor or could allude to someone else being right. And we can’t have that happen in the this world of spin where people can take any topic and find some way to make themselves look good and the other guy look bad.

Spin – who came up with that anyway? Where did truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth go?

Then there’s the if you don’t play my way, I’m taking my toys & leaving! Or the I’ll show you, since you don’t agree with me and do what I say – I won’t come to your party. I still can’t understand why a sitting U.S. President wouldn’t attend the funeral of a sitting U.S. Supreme Court Justice. They’re both public servants. They play on the same team (‘Merica.) They probably have similar desires for the good of mankind – though their respective camps vehemently, with harsh words, disagree. We live in a democracy – a place where differing opinions are allowed to exist.

Aretha needs to sing the National Anthem then follow it up with a loud rendition of R-E-S-P-E-C-T and encourage everyone to find out what it means. Then maybe we can actually get back to a little TCB (taking care of business, come on people.)

Selfishness, self-promotion and self-preservation has been sold as the way to go. (“Brand You: You can’t move up if you don’t stand out!”) But all SELF with little OTHERS makes Jack a sad boy.

Case in point: One of my brood woke up on the wrong side of the bed yesterday. As you can imagine with 5 kids, it’s a common occurrence.

The kid came down crabby. And bossy. And a teensy bit mean. A whole mess of SELF.

Since we’ve all been sold a bill of goods and believe that SELF equals power, I watched the kid try to wield it. When I told him to pick up his dirty underwear and take it to the laundry room, he obligatorily did. But not before passing by a sibling and spouting out a few commands that he should do the same.

It went on from one silly little passive-aggressive thing to another – mostly spurred by FAIR and BEST.

Fair: it’s not fair I got in trouble (which really wasn’t the case; but with SELF at play, the world is against you); it’s not fair that I have to take out the trash, I did it yesterday; it’s not fair she gets to … fill in the blank.

Best: race to the car to get the “best” seat – as if there is one (I mean really, what difference does it make? They’re getting into and out of the car in a matter of 15 minutes.) AND a rummaging through the fruit bowl to get the “best” orange.

“This is the best,” SELF-kid proclaimed. He went back through the bowl to be sure After rummaging a bit more, “No THIS one is the best. Yes – the best for sure. And it’s mine!”

I looked at the kid proudly holding the orange as if it were an Oscar at the Academy Awards – showing showing it to us all, especially the sister rummaging through the same bowl trying to find an orange for her lunch.

SELF tricks its victim into believing that beating-out, grabbing best, exerting power, shouting over, and other winning-ways TRUMP (no pun intended) everything else. They may appear to win on the surface; but deep down they lose.

I wonder what would happen we chose OTHERs. If we opted instead to let someone go ahead, to listen, to find merit in another’s idea, to search for ways to agree, to be strong TOGETHER and to set each other up for success rather than going in for the kill.

I watched that kid proudly put that orange in his lunch sack with pride and satisfaction – things we think come with winning.

“If it really is the best orange, give it to your sister,” I can’t help but say.

If he only could understand, I’m saying it for his sake, because I love him. Because if he could ditch the fear that compels SELF and opt instead for the freedom that comes with OTHERS, the kid would be released from the shackles & heavy burdens that silently accompany all those tricky winning-ways.

“If you gave it away, THEN you’d be the winner.”

Consideration of others, propriety, decorum – oh the places we’d go if we had leaders like that.

Thanks for walking the road with me.


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