A Winter Solstice Wish

Peace, Love, Joy

Dear Reader:

On this day of Solstice, when we celebrate light returning to our world, I send out a wish. I wish for a societal shift toward rejecting violence and embracing, instead, kindness and respect and love.

I started here in my house by deciding NOT to finish watching a TV series. The other night Hubby and I sat mute as a fictional FBI agent pulled out a gun, took a prisoner out of his SUV, pushed him up against the vehicle, and shot him in the neck and body five or six times. The prisoner was unarmed and cooperative. Blood splattered, and I asked myself, Why would I want to watch this? How does this enhance my life? What message is this sending to kids who are watching it?

I don’t care if it is “make believe” or “just a story.” Stories are a wrapping in which we package our values and give them, like a gift, to the world. Perhaps it is time we think about those values and begin to question whether or not our music, games, movies, television, books, and art represent the values our higher selves hold dear.

I challenge each of you to think about your values as we enjoy the holiday season. What is most important to you? Family, spirituality, education, earnings, possessions, art, beauty, environment, health, love? What values lift you up? What values lift up an entire community?

When it is time to chose a movie, a music album, a video game, an activity, ask yourself which of your choices best reinforces your values. Reject the ones that do not. Embrace those that do. In this way we can signal our values to our entertainers, to our creatives, and most important, to our children.

In the coming year, I will strive to signal that I do not value violence. I do not think it is heroic or admirable or even brave, only justifiable for self-protection as a last resort.

Pre-emptive violence? Nuh-uh. Not anymore. It is time for a new way of thinking.

I believe it is time for our society to have this conversation about values, starting with an internal dialogue and expanding outward to family, community, state, country, and the world. What do you think?

6 responses to “A Winter Solstice Wish

  1. I think all sorts of stuff, mostly that it’s complicated. I agree that it’s time for conversations and that those conversations are vitally important. I admire you for your continued willingness to have them. And I believe that stories are often a way we begin conversations that are complicated, or terrifying to have. Tuning out to reserve your focus for what you value is admirable. To deny the value of someone else’s focus…?
    http://www.democracynow.org/2012/12/19/exclusive_leonard_peltier_speaks_out_from

    • Thank you for your reply, Laura. I really don’t consider this “tuning out” in any way, and I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt that you didn’t mean that to sound patronzing. I’ll watch the news, read the paper, Google, follow links like the one you put on here, etc. I will NOT, any more, support a creative/entertainment industry that glorifies violence and tickles the primitive part of our brain that gets a little jolt of excitement from watching someone get their head blown off or raped or pummeled to a pulp.I guess it could be argued that we need violent movies to show us what violence is..but I reject that as too simplistic. And my idea isn’t about denying someone else’s “focus”…in fact, I think I encouraged everyone to consider their values and act accordingly. Some people will continue to value weapons and fighting, I suppose, and they may have valid reasoning and that is fine. Enter that into the conversation as you have. The interview in the link you sent only serves to illustrate my point…violence sucks. Leonard Peltier asks the government to stop fighting wars and he talks about the FBI and their weapons and the illegalities of that trial…sooooo, yeah. Let’s turn offensive (as opposed to truly defensive) wars and that kind of FBI behavior into a social taboo, the height of anti-social behavior and push for prosecution of that kind of behavior. It has to start somewhere, and I think it will start when we citizens begin to verbalize and act on values that go beyond fight or flight and forward into cooperation and concern for others. Or actually back to those values. We had them not so long ago with, yes, gaps.

  2. “Stories are a wrapping in which we package our values and give them, like a gift, to the world.” You have such a way with words that I envy. We had this discussion in my high school health class on Tuesday in regards to the recent tragedy. How many of the video games that are out there have to do with guns and violence? It was a great topic for teens! i hope we continue to have those. As always what we do is a choice and one that I am glad that on the whole I feel I make the correct choice for me.

    • I’m so glad there was a chance to talk about it with the students in your school…yes, we should keep talking about these issues, getting them to think about what they believe and why, not just about violence but also about a host of other issues: ’cause they are the ones who are going to take up the reigns in a few years.

  3. I do agree, Shelley, and you said it beautifully. It does have to start with a personal dialogue. We can then reach out, in kindness, with our views. My mother was a big fan of mystery stories, and had been her entire life. They became gradually more sexual and more violent over the years, and she continued reading, without thinking much about it. Then she was told she had three months to live. “I can’t give up books,” she told me, “I’ve always loved them. But in the time I have left, I’m only going to read things that enrich my life. I’m going to be really particular about what I choose to read.” We are all dealing with limited time here, and should be just as particular about the things we allow to take up our time. Thanks, Shelley, for a caring and timely post.

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