there’re been a few stories lately that make me think that some large numbers of us – maybe all of us– have gone soft. and we’re making the next generation soft too.
for all the constant whining that goes on about “losing liberties” and “diminishing freedoms” and “standing up for rights”, what we do not seem to stand up for these days is a greater good or a vibrant future. what we seem to stand up for is the ability to throw pouty little temper tantrums when we don’t get everything we think we deserve. and we think we deserve a lot.
our world is quite large thanks to the advances in communications and technology, yet we choose to dwell in our own tiny narcissistic corner.
this week i heard the story of gilbert and eleanor kraus. never heard of them? until recently, most people hadn’t, including their own grandchildren. this couple brought 50 jewish children from vienna to the united states on the eve of wwii in defiance of opposition from the united states consulate and prominent jewish organizations in the u.s. they weren’t activists, they weren’t political representatives, they weren’t crusaders, they weren’t even particularly religious. they were just regular people who left their own kids behind and traveled to the den of anti-semitism as it was reaching a fever pitch and brought 50 children to the u.s. so that in case the worst would happen, the children would have a future. some bit of each of those families would have a future.
consider the courage.
consider children who grow up waiting for parents who never arrive, yet they go on and make good lives for themselves and the families they build. consider parents who define their instinct to protect their children by sending them away to some place safe. consider average people who do rather than yell, act rather than rant, take action rather than point fingers.
there are stories like this every day, but we hear few of them. and the people who act them out are not looking for a spotlight, they are motivated by an internal compass and a broader view of what it means to be a human being and what it means to have a future where we all thrive.
the underground railroad.
a 15 year old malala yousafzai.
a guy on a radio show i listen to was talking about buying a new mini-van for his family. while pondering the decision of what to buy, he struggled with one brand because the removable seats for his kids were not heated. it almost nixed the deal. then he came to his senses.
who among us would put our lives on the line and act out for the greater good and for a better future, to speak up loudly and act out decisively even in the face of our fears? think about that then count those among us who would not buy a certain mini-van because the seats were not heated.