What The US REALLY Needs . . .

Our Family Portrait, 2008

Our Family Portrait, 2008

If you have read my bio, you know I’m a mother and grandmother. As Mom with 2 kids, I’ve had to break up a lot of arguments. Heck, there are times now that they’re adults when I still have to break them up!

I’ve had to let our children know I refused to tolerate the infighting, bickering, name calling, posturing, blame casting and other dirty tricks used in their not seeming to want to work through their difficulties. There was a time or two I would shut a door and walk away, refusing to let them out except for basic needs, until they settled it peacefully. And a few times I had to impose a negotiated settlement neither one liked, just to regain peace in the house. Other times, they were thankfully able to finally work things out to their mutual satisfaction, at least until the next squabble . . .

When I look at Congress and the President in the current budget deadlock and looming debt ceiling crisis, all I can United States Capitol

think is, “They need a Mom!” They need someone to sit them down, demand they stop bickering, name calling, posturing, blame casting and all the other dirty tricks used in their steadfast refusals to work out a settlement. They need someone willing to shut them in behind closed doors, take their toys away and refuse to let them out until they compromise. They need someone willing to impose a settlement no one Official photographic portrait of US President...

likes, just to regain peace. And they need it quickly.

Then I realized something. People of the US, WE are the Mom.  WE are the ones getting sick and tired of the news reports of the ridiculous things being imposed by the government shut-down. WE are the ones the monetary crisis

An Angry Mom is Worse than an Angry Mob

will fall on the worst if the debt ceiling issues aren’t resolved. WE are the ones who can make the leaders of the House of Representatives, the Senate and the President sit down and work something out. WE have this power. And its high time WE used it.

How do we use our power? We contact our friends, our family, our representatives, the media outlets and anyone else we think might listen to us, or not. We write letters, we email and we call. We inundate news media and the Congressional and White House switchboards. We blog, we text, we post on FaceBook and send out tweets on Twitter. We light up the social media world and make the issues viral. We make our feelings and

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

opinions known.

What do we say? In all this communication, we demand something be done. We insist the politicians stop sitting around blaming one another and speaking in sound bites, making for good television and bad negotiation. We insist more be done than said for a change.

It doesn’t matter, really, what side of the aisle your politics are on now. The disasters with the government shut down and the looming debt crisis will impact all of us, no matter what we believe, or how we voted (or not) in the last elections. What matters is

Breakdown of political party representation in...

that we all use our voices, in whatever means we can, to let Congress and the President know we are tired of their posturing, bored with their blame casting and name calling, sick to death of the political gamesmanship and fed up with whole sorry mess they call politics as usual. It’s not about Red or Blue States or sides of the aisle any more. It’s about our economic survival and our children’s future.

Our country needs leaders. It now has politicians. By holding them accountable, by calling them to task as a united people, we can demand they lead for a change and get something done. The choice to demand it, and the challenge, is up to us.

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Failure?

When I was younger, I tried a lot of stuff. My oh-so-checkered orthopedic records are a log of how most of my attempts went. Here’s a brief (incomplete) list:

I ran track and cross-country, and sprained both ankles several times. Each. I ice and roller skated, breaking my tail bone and both wrists in 3 different episodes. I skied, and blew my left knee my first time off the “bunny slopes.” I blew my right knee falling off my heels while dancing! I even broke my wrist (again) tripping over a cat while cleaning house. More recently, I broke my hand tripping over a curb. (There are some good stories behind some of these, but they’re too long . . .)

From all of this, you would be justified to believe I’m either accident prone, or a klutz! My orthopedic surgeon thinks so and my extended family members tend to agree. I look at it this way: I have spent my life learning what I could do by learning what I could not do. Unfortunately, what I could not do physically turned into often painful lessons in not doing that again. By the way, I do many things well, including singing, crafts, sewing, quilting, calligraphy, cooking, drawing, painting and writing, though you will have to judge the writing part. 😉

I failed at a lot of things. But am I a failure? No, of course not! That’s because failing is what I did. Being a failure is rooted in who I am, the inner picture I have of myself. Failure is what I have, not what I am.

It’s the same for all of us. Just because we try at something and we don’t succeed (or succeed immediately) doesn’t make us a failure. It means we tried. And, unless circumstances demand otherwise (as in the case of me skiing, for example), to try again and learn from what we did wrong. As Henry Ford said,

Failure is an opportunity to begin again more successfully.

Portrait of Henry Ford (ca. 1919)

Too often, though, we make the mistake of allowing the times when we failed to define us, or our future attempts. We look at the behavior and wrongly translate it into character, personal attribute and/or destiny, instead of seeing it for what it is, an event. We take moments in time and turn them into our identity, melding them into our past, present and worst of all, our future.

I did this for years. Told I did not measure up in many ways, I transformed these criticisms (which were often harsh) into a poor reputation of myself. Failing at things I tried to do fed my low self-image, reinforcing it and deepening the damage to my psyche. It became a vicious cycle. It was only through the slow process of love and constant affirmation from people who showed me over and over how much they loved me that I was freed from this horrible trap.

Now, I understand and am able to relate to something I heard recently from speaker and blogger Bill Lewis,

Your past failures do not predict your future!1

I am learning again the words we were taught as children,

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!”

These sound trite, but truth is often found in trite sayings. I am learning my past is my past, and just that. My future is an unwritten page, on which I decide the direction the story goes. My past need have no influence on it. The book of life only goes forward, not backward. Yours is just the same.

If you, dear reader, struggle with failure as I did, allow my words to take root in your heart and mind. Find people who love and affirm you for who you are, who care about you and want the best for you. Take hope if I can learn how to fail without being a failure, so can you.

Now, get out there and fail at something! Because if you’re not failing, you’re not trying . . . (But that’s a talk for another day, and another post!)