To future generations: How you treat others is the key to your destiny


A letter to my children and grandchildren:
On Jan. 20, “We the people” handed over the White House keys to a different kind of president. The red
state citizens voted for a man because they wanted change, an outsider who could get things done, and
one who promised to “Make America great again.” The blue state citizens voted for a woman, who believed
that America was already great and focused her campaign around social change and justice for all.
The 2016 election was difficult for many people because it required them to make sense out of nonsense.
Facts did not matter and some people allowed their zeal for short-term gratification to override their
common sense. Sadly, other people in our lives (friends, relatives, coworkers) were no longer speaking
by the time the holidays arrived. As a result, our country became more divisive and mean-spirited. For
many of our citizens, fear, anxiety and uncertainty hung over them as a dark cloud.
Therefore, Dear Ones, it is with a heavy heart that I feel compelled to make sure that you have a moral
compass for making future decisions. We all believe that we are good people, but please remember that
each of us views the world through a different lens. Depending upon our backgrounds, we are all biased
and shaped by our personal experiences.
Maya Angelou once warned us, “When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.” In the
past, people strived to always give others the benefit of the doubt, but today, we live in different
times where the world is divided between givers and takers. Some people bring sunshine into our lives
and others will suck all the oxygen out of the room. Learn to know the difference.
Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” Making
false assumptions fosters flawed conclusions and leads to hurtful comments. Twitter and Facebook are
full of fake news, hate speech and more undocumented opinions than facts. Without research, drawing
false conclusions about political and state affairs is not only dangerous, but also foolish.
Allow your integrity to serve as your moral compass for everything you say and do. How you live your life
and treat others is key to your destiny. Strive to make your journey a peaceful one, but always be aware
of other people’s underlying motives. Be alert and proactive about your personal safety by looking for
red flags in people’s behaviors. Ask the right questions: i.e. Do they lie and blame others for their
actions? Do they have to put other people down in order to make themselves feel better? Do they speak in
grandiose terms and appear delusional? Are they bullies and discriminate against people they do not
Everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect, but remember that having dignity, feeling
good about ourselves, is an inherent virtue, while respect is something we must earn. Dangerous times
require us to maintain our dignity by not reacting with our “reptilian” instincts often known as
“knee-jerk reactions.” Therefore, when people act in ways that do not deserve our respect, be mindful
about practicing your ethics with restraint and maturity. If we react to a bully with similar hateful
attitudes, then how are we any different?
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” comes from the Sermon on the Mount and is attributed
to Jesus. It is a very simple concept repeated in other major world religions, but one that is often
overlooked in our politics and ethics today. Any person or policy that attempts to control others in
hurtful ways or causes discrimination or evil consequences needs to be questioned. If the Golden Rule
actually informed our public policies, rather than greed and gridlock, then perhaps, humanity would feel
less divisive, less alienated, less victimized and more inspired to work together.
Bowling Green resident Norma Davenport is a former mental health worker and advocate with the Family
Service Counseling Center of Wood County. She contributes to the Sentinel-Tribune monthly.
Opinions expressed in “Norma Unleashed” are the writer’s own.

No posts to display