Monday, February 02, 2009

Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You...

Do you watch Oprah?

Yeah, me too.

I'm not obsessed, and I often delete the DVR if I'm not immediately drawn into the day's topic, but more often than not, I find that when I stick with a show, even one that seems to hold no interest for me, I learn something and think "Man! I'm so glad I saw that!"

Such was the case a few weeks ago. She was all atwitter after the inauguration and she was talking about the event with Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher, two individuals that I don't really spend much time thinking about but I was interested because they are pretty people and I always like to look at pretty people. (Erica, I'm sure you saw this one with all things Ashton...)

They were talking about the change to come and the uphill climb the president has before him. And I listened while doing the dishes, thinking yes, this man does have unblieveable obstacles in his way and I'm so glad I'm a mom to four crazy kittens and not the president of the United States ( although I would love to attend the Kennedy Center Honors sometime. Nice perk, that one). Anyway, then they said the coolest thing. They said that they discussed, as a family, what their rolls should be in making this world a better place. They came up with a pledge (abolishment of modern-day slavery in all forms) and have vowed to do all they can to make this happen. To contribute to the good of the country. To not just sit back and say "well, he failed" and point the finger, but to actually DO something about it.

So this got me thinking, as Oprah often does. Can I abolish slavery? Um, probably not. But can I do something, anything at all to contribute to the good of the world? Yeah, I probably can. And more importantly, can I teach my children that it's as much their responsibility as anyone elses? Oh yeah.

I've been thinking about this a lot and trying to come up with the right thing for me to pledge. It's hard, trying to narrow everything down to one thing but I think it's not nearly as important to worry about pledging the wrong thing as it is to just do something. (Man that sentence is confusing but hopefully you got what I'm saying.)
Demi and Ashton emphasized that every little thing helps, that every little thing is important and necessary and that no act of service is too small or seen as less important than anything else. And I appreciated this because I am a mom to four little kittens and my time, and my resources are limited. But I can do something and that's the important thing. I thought about doing more community service or making more frequent charitable contributions and although I do hope to do those, it didn't feel quite right. I've tried on several different ideas over the past few weeks and nothing was the right fit.

But now I've figured it out. So here goes:

I pledge to fully embrace motherhood and nurture my children to become the kind of people that will one day make pledges of their own.

Sounds pretty simple but I love it.

I think what I've realized and what's most important to me is that I want to cultivate children who fully understand that it is their responsibility as citizens of this country to give back. To do more for others. To take care of those around them. To see themselves as part of the solution and to not become part of the problem.

I think it's pretty easy to stand back and say "look what they have to fix!" whether it be about our politicians, our school teachers, our neighborhoods, our whatevers. But to really get in there and see what you have to offer? That's a lot harder.

And I love that this isn't about labels. This isn't about being a Democrat or being a Republican. This is about being a human being and a member of a society that has the power to do good. Real, authentic, pure-of-heart good.

I'm going to put my pledge over on my sidebar so that I''ll see it frequently and be reminded of what I want to do. Maybe it'll encourage you to make a pledge of your own, or maybe it'll make you roll your eyes and think "here she goes again!" Either way, I hope it gets you thinking.


Heather said...

I never watch Oprah... and I didn't roll my eyes.

Good for you, being a mom and teaching good things is high priority these days. Way to step it up. :)

Stacia said...

I saw that episode. I appreciated that they made a specific pledge and have goals for it. It made me think what can I do that I am passionate about. Still thinking on that one.

Love your pledge. It really has sooo many different aspects of it too. I plan on making a similar pledge to myself, becoming the woman I want for my children, whenever and however they come.

On a side note, how do you update your "today I will"? Do you go into your settings or do you have a program?

lindsay>boo said...

I love it.

I agree with the things you said. It's so important to teach our children these things. I really believe that if you want to make the world a better place, you start in the home. Your pledge, values, goals and the way you teach your children all exemplify this.

tharker said...

Nothing is as important as what will be taught within the walls of our own homes. Your pledge is living proof of this!! I love it, Karen!

No rolling coming from these eyes!

Mimi said...

I agree wholeheartedly! Let me preface this by saying I am sure I am biasedly motivated because I feel like this is MY president and
I do want to see him succeed, but seeing the hope and the brightness of the world through my childrens' eyes makes me want "to really get in there and see what you have to offer". I loved that line! Think of the exponential power of you doing good, teaching your children to do good and children inspiring children to do good! Great post Karen!

Knotaklu said...

Karen, You Rock!!! I love your pledge, but especially that "I want to cultivate children who fully understand that it is their responsibility as citizens of this country to give back. To do more for others. To take care of those around them. To see themselves as part of the solution and to not become part of the problem." Imagine if all parents did that, what a country we would create. Oprah is just OK in my book. I'd like her a lot more if she didn't promote herself as much. Like I wish she named her school for girls in South Africa something other than after herself. Oh Well, She's done a lot of good. You however are right on and doing more good than you can imagine.

Lisa said...

This is a great post and I HAVE to show it to my husband. He and 4 or 5 other local men have started a website:

It's all about taking charge and doing SOMETHING to make this a better world, to take care of yourself, to be responsible, to teach your children self-reliance, to self-reliant yourself and so forth.

The website is just has a 'coming soon' sign posted if you go to it. But it should be officially up and running in a week or two. These men realized that they can't change the whole world at once, but they can start with their community and try to go from there.

So anyways, I LOVE your pledge. I think you have the right idea. And I will be sure to have my husband read this. He'll probably want to link it or something of that nature :)

Lisa said...

I just posted a link to this post....I hope that's OK. If it's not let me know and I'll pull it!

The Donald said...

This is funny, becuase little does Lisa know I saw the video of their "pledges" on youtube. And while it sounds like a good idea, when I watched the video I felt as if I was being indoctrinated with a Hollywood propaganda piece.

In the video, you had people pledging directly to Barrack Obama! That is very scary to me. I will pledge to my country, and do whatever I can to help her remain strong, but I will not pledge to a man. Especially not to one who others believe is close to being godlike, and is being treated as one by many people in this country.

Like you said, it is great to serve others. Unfortunately, the direction these Hollywood types are aiming for is not voluntary service, (The way service is supposed to be.)but for involuntary service.

Sorry to throw a rant your way, but in these times we are heading into, people need to know that not everything is what it seems.

With my rant now finished, it is good to see a loving mother teach their children to serve in the right capacity. If only every Mother would try this much with their children, the world would be a better place.

Thanks for letting me drop a comment. Have a nice day.

Alicia said...

Sorry, but I have to echo Heather's comment. I don't watch Oprah. I have never seen a single episode. But I love when stuff makes me think. This was some good thinkin'. Thanks for this!

Rachel said...

Great post. I love the pledge idea and have thought alot this January about what my focus will be this year. Thanks for the good ideas. My name is Rachel and I am a blog stalker...used to be.

Kelly said...

You are certainly well on your way to successfully accomplishing your pledge. Your children are already
proof of that!

Your words are wise and they DO make me think. I agree with you that this has nothing to do with politics or Hollywood... It's about being more aware and finding ways to continually strive to make our world a better place. Thanks for spreading the word!

PRP said...

Rachel! Welcome! I'm so glad you're here.

Marilyn said...

Karen, you are a wise wise mother, and a great example to us all.

Stan said...

I pledge to bring back donut friday whenever I come over, and to not watch too much Dateline that show scares me.(is the sky falling?)

Amy said...

Great post. I agree with your pledge. I have to tell myself daily that I am doing the most important job right now that I can be. I definitely need to try to always do it better.

::Jan:: said...

Good idea.

I think that the Proclamation was a very wise thing.

I love your thoughts Karen. Keep them coming :)

Lover of the Disheveled Look said...

I pledge never to miss another television show wherein Ashton pays a visit. Dang it!

Annette Rose said...

You are so awesome, Karen! That is an awesome sentence. If we could all raise our kids to be "the best they can" and good responsible citizens, the world will be a better place in the future! Way to go. You are always keeping us on our toes!