As a kid, I remember my parents drove a blue Ford station wagon. This was a time before the ‘soccer mom mini van’ or SUV’s, this was the time when housewives drove the station wagon and the husbands drove a truck or other car. These older station wagons had a folding rear seat. They had a front bench seat, a middle bench seat and a small folding bench seat in the cargo area. The odd thing about that last seat is that it faced backwards. When my grandparents came to visit, we would all cram into that wagon to go (where ever). I was usually stuck in that back bench and it was a little disorienting at first looking where we had been instead of looking where we were going. It is helpful to know where we were but more important to know we are going.
As my father was in the Navy, I was encouraged to join the Sea Cadets instead of the Boy Scouts. Nothing wrong with the scouts, it’s just that my dad wanted to share a little part of his life with me as a sailor. Among learning things like tying knots, swimming and first aid, we had to learn how to read a map. With a map, you should be able to find out where you are in order to find your way to where you want to go. A compass or knowing how you got there is very helpful but not as necessary as knowing where you are.
As I get older, I like to remember the 1980’s when I was in my early 20’s. I could do things that would put me in traction if I tried them today. So it is fun to dwell on the past and think ‘what if’, but it is not helpful to me today. It is more helpful to know where you are and where you are going instead of where you were. Just like sitting in that rear facing seat in the station wagon, to dwell on where you were might be fun but not helpful in were you are going.
So look at the American society today. Our society is fractured into several pieces being perpetuated by oppertunists that become more powerful the more people consider themselves victims. Black people who’s ancestors may have been slaves, Native American Indians who’s ancestors may have been displaced by war, Latin Americans who’s ancestors may have been displaced from land. All of these groups demanding reperations for actions taken hundreds of years ago acting like current victims. Things that happened 50, 100 or 200+ years ago, these groups are dwelling on them, focusing on where their ancestors were instead of focusing on where they ARE and where they are GOING.
The leaders of these groups are keeping their followers enslaved by anger over what happened instead of focusing on where they should be going.
My father taught me that in a fight, maintain control over your emotions. When angry, you are more likely to be focused on the wrong things. You get tunnel vision. In a fight, the first person to allow anger to control him will most likely loose. By angrily dwelling on the past, they have lost focus on where they are and where they are going. Like being on the ocean and not knowing where you are or where you are going, you become a slave to where the ocean will take you. These ‘victims’ are lost and become more and more reliant on these so called ‘leaders’ of their groups. Just like I was reliant on my father as he drove that Ford wagon and having faith that he knew where he was taking us, I could only see where I had been. Now that I am an adult, I am responsible for my lifes directions, or misdirections. It matters not where I was, but only where I am and where I am going. I am not a victim but a free man responsible for my own actions on my journey through life.
Are you a victim? Take inventory of what you have and where you are NOW and determine where you want to go and stop crying about where you have been. You can’t change the past but you can effect your future.