Two worlds: In Search of Hope through the Desperation
It’s been said that children in Africa will walk ten miles to attend school where children in America just drop out. This seems like such a strange thing, but what is the difference in the two? In Africa parents and leaders will tell a child you will be nothing without an education, in America parents and leaders simply say you are nothing. How did a nation of such hope like America has been for centuries become a place of such disappointment?
The simple answer is desperation. If we believe that nothing is good enough, that there will always more you have to accomplish, then how do you ever accomplish anything worth while? If you cannot set a bench mark of success, then where do you find success? The western world, the industrialized world has driven our selves into an impossible hole that is filled with degrees, credit cards, cars, and gluttonous amounts of food all in the name of success.
In the American Great Depression of the 1930’s a pantry full of food was a sign of success, because you could afford to feed your family when others around you could not do so. Then it became who owned the biggest newest car in the neighborhood. As the 1980’s arrived it was what color credit card you had, silver, gold, platinum. But has that created happiness or success for the industrialized world? People are working at fast food restaurants with Bachelors and Masters Degrees, the enormous cars are leading to hotter summers by adding huge emissions, and in most places people are fat.
It’s time to redefine success in the industrialized world so that we don’t contaminate the rest of the world with our mistaken ideas of success. China has started to follow us into the big car idea, Europe has followed along with the fatty foods, and we’re all in debt, to each other, up to our eyeballs. So what if success looked less like a hefty paycheck and more like a really great physical from your doctor? Or a peaceful walk next to a waterway that was clear and carried no odor of contamination?
Would we be able to rid the world of the desperation that drives people mad in search of success if we could truly create change? Would children attend school for the delight and joy in finding out something they didn’t know if they weren’t pressured by the straight A’s? Would women reduce the rate of heart attack among them if they didn’t feel so pressured to be mothers, wives, lovers, housekeepers, child care providers, all while trying to hold down a six figure job?
This is not to say that working to achieve something or that a little pressure is a bad thing. But when you have no defined point of success to aim for and you are always looking for the next high you’ll die feeling miserable about the fact that you believed you never achieved anything. When you read or hear an obituary about someone dying you never hear about the things they did every single day, all the time. You hit the high points the big five or ten things that their families could recall and wished to share. We as the world have to stop pressuring our selves into believing that non stop motion will make all the difference. Slow down.
You are good enough. You will be good enough even if you slow down. You don’t have to die trying. Share this idea with your children because then maybe like those children in Africa simply attending school will mean success.