Something’s not right.
Looking across the landscape of America today, we can see that something’s not right. Living here, we feel it. In our communities, we hear all about it. There is an ever-widening gap forming between the world that we believed in when we were younger and the world that we see now.
And something needs to be done.
In times of record debt and unfunded liabilities in the institutions above us and record divorce rates and instances of neglect and abuse in the families in our communities, we are sandwiched in a failing culture. We’ve done everything we’ve been told: we went to school, studied hard, got good grades, and maybe even got a “safe, secure” job, but nothing came out like it was supposed to. Instead, we see massive rates of unemployment that don’t factor into millions who are underemploymed and hundreds of thousands who have just given up. We see scandal after scandal breaking on the news because we’ve been taught that the screen on the television should be more captivating than spending time engaged with our families. Sociologists claim that increases in violence in our communities come from young men who take lives because they have no value for lives because they don’t believe that their own lives are valuable. The children in our communities grow up with television characters as role models because idealizing fiction is the only way to believe that what they can expect will be as good as fiction.
But it won’t be. And that is okay. The world is not meant to be perfect. We shouldn’t expect 0% unemployment, a government that functions without the involvement of the people (!) or a job that’s handed to us just because we’ve jumped through one or two more hoops than the last guy. We shouldn’t expect the world to be fine without us. We should expect to have to engage. We should expect to have to put in the time and effort to maintain and grow the freedoms and opportunities that we were born with, because not everyone is and not everyone will be.
You see, something’s not right in the world. And it’s time to do something about it.
It’s time for us to ask ourselves what we would spend our time here doing. Because I’ll tell you this: we don’t have a million years to do this. You’ve been told that all you have to do is study hard, get good grades, get a safe, secure job, a house with a white picket fence, a spouse, two-point-three kids, and a golden retriever, and you’ll be happy. What you weren’t told is what that really costs, versus what its value is.
You see, working 40 hours a week, if you’re lucky enough to keep the number that low, the average person spends 100,000 hours at work in their lifetime. They’ll go on to spend 25,000 hour with the person they marry, if they do marry. If they have children, they’ll spend 12,500 hours or less with them before their time is up. Now, if I were to ask you to rank your priorities, including family, friends, money, God, and hobbies, how would you rank them? And no cheating by reading what you just read above.
Do you see how your time can get eaten up right in front of you without you even noticing it? We’re told what to do to live the life we want, but nobody has ever asked what the life we want looks like. We decide what we want to “do” when we grow up before we even consider what we want to “be”. Because what most of us will “be” if we continue on this path is busy, distracted, distant from our families, and largely underutilized when it comes to our potential.
Today, we see a frightening number of people unemployed because they went to college and got a degree only to find that there was nobody willing to hire them to do a job when they got out. Well, I’ll say this. I do not believe that the first ships of refugees from the Old World that landed here in the colonies hopped off their boats and strolled into Wal-Mart for a job application. I don’t believe that they stepped off their boats and booted up their macbooks to e-mail their resume to GM. I believe that our country was founded on the principle that whatever it took to build a life of freedom and peace to live by their own priorities, the men and women who came here to establish their dreams were going to do it.
And that, my friends, is what’s not right in the world today. We’ve lived so long on the efforts of those who came before us that we didn’t think we had to contribute to keep it going. But we do. And we should. And it won’t be easy. But it will be worth it. We don’t have a million years to do this. But we do have the time necessary to act. And at this point, it is the time to act.