Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Make America Kind Again.

I went to bed last night without knowing who won.  I resisted the urge to look at the results at 3:30 when I woke up, knowing I would not be able to get back to sleep, no matter what the results.  At five, the ability to ignore reality was too strong and I looked at CNN. 

I know there is concern, fear, trepidation, and a crashed Canadian Immigration website.  I know that there will be gloaters and criers on television, on the streets, and probably at work today.  Years ago, I had the privilege of visiting Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her Virginia home.  Although you may not recognize her name, she is the one responsible for the research on the Stages of Grief. She found a way to help people deal with their feelings of despair, isolation, and hopelessness.  She herself was a very caring and kind person, who specialized in understanding the end of life, yet did so with joy and happiness.  Her stages of grief are not unlike what many have - and will - experience, given the political divide that was evident in such a close race last evening.   So yes, there will be anger, there will be bargaining with Canadian immigration, and eventually acceptance.

But none of that matters.  What matters to me this morning is exactly what mattered to me yesterday.  What matters is kindness, civility, optimism, and hope.  Regardless of who won, I went to bed knowing that the world will go on, and that I have hope for the future.

Hope doesn't come from politicians, political parties, or CNN.  Hope comes in the banding together of common people to affect change for the good of everyone.  

My sister's Facebook status around 4 am was this:

Let's all find courage, compassion and conviction to face the election results (regardless of your choice of candidate) with the theory "Make America Kind Again." 

 Hope.

At 8 am this morning, there will be 52 Key Club members in my room.  They will be planning a menu of opportunities for service projects.  Key Club is the high school version of the adults' Kiwanis Club.  This is Key Club Week, and these kiddos are already working to Make America Kind Again.  They are passing out Powerpacks to hungry families, collecting soda tabs for patients in need, setting up and tearing down events, babysitting for families experiencing medical difficulties, raising money for UNICEF to help eliminate Malaria.  They are trying to advance an understanding of autism and its impacts. They are practicing Random Acts of Kindness so often that the idea of RANDOM doesn't really apply.

National Honor Society, Future Business Leaders of America, National Art Honor Society and Mathematics Honor Society, and Varsity Club all have chapters in my high school, and every single one of these groups provide kind service to make the world a better place.  

On Friday, our school will hold its annual Veterans' Day Assembly. I will stand, as I always do, so very proud of my country, the veterans, and the student body, who will demonstrate kindness and respect.  

A week later, the Extraordinary Give will be held in Lancaster County.  A single day will make a world of difference for many organizations providing hope in this world. I will spend another night watching totals roll in - this time for something that really matters.  Hope.

So on this morning when I fear for the Stock Market opening, and stand wondering why our world will determine success or despair based upon votes and stock values, I am choosing to pull a Fred Rogers, and look for the helpers.  

Fortunately for me, I see helpers every day because my world is largely comprised of 14 - 18 year olds who don't know what it means to give up, instead choosing to have hope,  to STEP up, and  to Make America Kind Again.