The Gambler

“You Gotta know when to hold them, know when to fold them, know when to walk away, know when to run “

 It was my feeling that in the current climate some things are just worth mentioning more than once. It doesn’t matter whether you are on one side of the political isle or the other, what matters is whether or not what is decent remains decent and that what is not does not become normalized and therefore accepted.  As a man, father, brother, uncle and partner  I feel that sometimes the deck is stacked disproportionately. I guess it depends on the objects and the situation, but for the most part being a white male makes life soft at times.  Luckily for me I’ve worked in a professional environment for the last few number of years that was dominated by women, which isn’t always easy but it was a compassionate woman that reached out to me and warmly welcomed me to this new opportunity and it is definitely a perspective that has enabled me to grow exponentially!  I have seen up close and personal how men working in my current field can become jaded and discontent.  They can either sit quietly and hope the wrong things don’t come out of their mouth to be misinterpreted, or sadly feel empowered by what is happening around them and allow that empowerment to be the rule of the day.  The latter being the one that scares me the most as both of my children are boys. I take great caution in this fact and take very seriously how being a single parent I raise them to appreciate and respect people for the content of their character, not gender.  All of these derogatory traits are learned behaviors, young boys do not just assume this type of demeanor, it is something they have witnessed or something they’ve been encouraged to participate in.  It is easy to get overwhelmed and enveloped in one side or the other in the vitriol but what’s important is to not allow that to consume you to the point that changes your outlook on life in general.  This current climate is so charged and so pressing that people that I speak with and families I visit all suffer from some type of stress relating to what is happening in the world right now. It’s fair to say that these things cannot and should not go ignored… But the tricky part is knowing when to address them. Especially if members of your own family or people in your orbit share an opposing view. When our opinions enflame people to the point of either violence or disassociation it’s time to have a conversation that inspires more unity and meaningful discourse then derision and divisiveness. In other words knowing when to hold our own in a way that is mature and open minded.  It is not my place say when that time is for you or your family, mine is to only guide and offer support.  So if you are reading this I am hoping that what you are taking away from it is that you can argue your point at the top of your lungs and it would have the exact same value and meaning as arguing your point in a conversational tone to another person who is open to receive and learn from it.  Obviously we have to pick our moment for this to happen, but I’ve noticed that more often than not we are becoming enraged much more quickly because of the ambient background being constant turmoil.  I have found myself stuck to watching the news as a result of wanting to be informed but also because I find that it meets my own rage quota for the day… Anger is a curious emotion, we can easily allow the anger to become a constant companion and reason for us to ignore our own station.  I share this because quietly this has become something that affected me very deeply, it has also caused some difficult issues to bubble to the surface, this in turn made me terse and curt at times which in turn made some tense situations. However, luckily I am always surrounded by support and this was another crucial component to this issue that I feel is important. Transparency isn’t just for windows, it’s for growth too!! See, when our circle of friends or family are aware of who we are as individuals, they know when things are happening. Now, widen the lens to a community and when our families are in contact with each other on a level that’s somewhat frequent we can observe things like this floating around and bubbling up, a lot can be learned by just observation and compassion. 

Imagine, here we are stomping around our homes feeling irritated and overwhelmed or anxious, and each home in our community is similar inside. Now, we walk out the door,  compose ourselves and act as though we are ok outwardly, and all the stress and strain is corroding us internally. We act out, we argue, we are combative perhaps all as a result of internalized emotions. As a dad we can turn this into our homes being chaos, unless we channel this into something positive. So, what’s out there? Plenty, Plenty… from programs to curb anger to programs to engage fatherhood and lots of things in between. I am proud to be a fatherhood consultant for Cambria County so I am able to tap into this vibe and perhaps redirect it in a positive way that resonates beyond the fatherhood initiative. 

We are shaping our children, and therefore our community by the way we navigate our lives. We have the capability to go to a very difficult situation or dark place and bring a spark of light, of hope, and this isn’t just a fatherhood thing, this is a human thing. We are drawn to light, we are drawn to warmth and kindness. As people we are genuinely concerned about our families and our community, take any disaster for example. We have a huge opportunity to unite here, a huge opportunity to take a moment in time and crystallize our compassion for each other. Love will always win, kindness will always triumph over discord because when we are kind and compassionate regardless of circumstances, people/situations don’t know how to keep us grounded. Don’t believe me, look at nature- do trees grow downward, or flowers, or even our hearts when we feel love? No, we reach toward the light, we crane our necks towards the light, and when we are in love we float across the ground and are able to achieve anything we choose. This is a singular power far greater then hate and anger. Just remember when you hear all the noise of the news and it’s affect on those around you. Decide to educate yourself, decide to be open to the truth on whatever terms feel right to you personally. But, make sure you decide to be a part of the conversation where love is the topic, where compassion is the roadmap and where kindness and joy are the vehicle to the destination of strength in our community. It starts with you, and ends with peace. (::)