Sunday, March 13, 2011

Stand Up For Something, Will Ya?

I have introduced a new rule on my Facebook page regarding content that is posted that has drawn some interesting private messages to me, some in support and some in protest.

I have decided that people who contribute to posts on my wall, whether written by me or by others, should strive to remain relatively close to topic, otherwise risk being unfriended.

This decision came as a result of some people surfing in and filling my wall with meaningless, off-topic messages that seemed funny or valuable to them but not to the many people who were subscribing to my wall content.

I can’t believe I have finally embraced a form of censorship on my wall.  What events transpired that changed my mind?

I have always been vehemently against censorship since I recognize the slippery slope that censorship implies.  Proponents of censorship claim that once we censor some things, there is no limit to what may be censored until eventually no one will be allowed to have an opinion on anything.

Yes – this may be true and was always something I worried about.

However, consider this case.

Back in 2010, an author in the US published a book defending what he described as the beauty of pedophilia and how it could be lovingly nurtured between an adult and a child (details can be found here).

Sounds pretty disgusting to me but there were many people I know who aggressively and incessantly defended his right to voice his opinion even if they disagreed with the subject matter.

I finally got tired of the debate and asked them what they would have thought about this author’s right to such an opinion had they been dropping their children off with an adult babysitter and saw a copy of the book on the coffee table.

Suddenly and without any further debate they all agreed with me that such a book should not be printed.

They needed to see a different perspective.

And I needed to be able to put the subject in a context that resonated with them.  I needed to put myself in their shoes (Stephen Covey’s 5th Habit – “Seek first to understand and then to be understood”) so that they understood why I was expressing such an opinion.

When we stand for something and express it in a way that allows them to make up their own mind (instead of being forced to agree with us), we enhance the value of  human knowledge exchange and hopefully we each grow as a result.

This is Not a Censorship Rant

This is not a musing about censorship.  However, it is a reminder that each of us have things in our Life that we must defend, even when it seems unpopular for the moment.

Things like:

  • the privacy of our personal space when we need it, despite the clamoring of the world that we must bow to the pressure to always be available to anyone who needs it.
  • the value of our opinion, even when it seems to run against popular opinion.
  • the importance of time with family, investing in the people who ultimately matter more than anyone.
  • the need to uphold values and character in all aspects of our Life, to ensure that ethical and moral execution is always first and foremost.
  • The need to champion particular undertakings in the world.
  • The importance of shutting people out of our Life if they are negative influences or detract us from accomplishing our personal Life purpose.
  • Speaking the truth, even when unpopular or painful.

We all have something that we feel must be defended or championed at all cost – something that we are passionate about.

However, many people are unwilling to let the voice of their inner champion to be heard aloud.  They are willing to die with their song still inside them instead of sharing the song with others.

But if we TRULY want what is important for us to manifest in our world, keeping it a secret will not allow it to develop, to blossom, to inspire others or to change the world in anyway.

Understand that the message you wish to share may need to be crafted so that the recipient understands and possibly resonates with it.  There WILL be resistance, no matter how “wonderful” or “inspiring” your message is in your own mind. 

People will not always agree with you.  Some people will hate you and will do anything to crush what you wish to share.

But many will respect you for what you believe in if you stand up for something in a manner that is done passionately, intelligently and respectfully.  And some of this group of people will step forward to help you make your thoughts a reality.

To dare to risk everything, to stand up for what you believe in and to do it with conviction and respect will take us a LOT further in Life than apathy, indifference, waiting for someone else to fix something, steamrolling people or avoiding something because it’s a “hot potato”.

Three quotes come to mind:

To dare is to lose one's footing momentarily.  To not dare is to lose oneself.  - Soren Kierkegaard

Many great ideas have been lost because the people who had them could not stand being laughed at.  ~Author Unknown

The fear of being laughed at makes cowards of us all.  ~Mignon McLaughlin, “The Neurotic's Notebook”

Do you dare to lose your footing?

Are you willing to be laughed at because you are so passionate about something that you are willing to do whatever it takes, even if it seems silly, unpopular or potentially loaded with personal / career destroying potential?

Do you dare to be audacious, to bravely expose your big dreams to the nurturing warmth of daylight?

Are you prepared to stand for something when no one else wants to, when they don’t want you to or when everyone is waiting for another brave soul to step up first?

Good – because the world needs people like you to make a difference – a difference that is needed more than ever.

Or as Howard Thurman wrote:

Don’t ask what the world needs.  Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.

WHAT are you waiting for?

In service and servanthood,


For my Musings-in-a-Minute version of “Stand Up For Something, Will Ya?”, please click here.

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