As 2021 swirls rapidly to an end and we prepare to greet another new year, it’s important that we pause and show some love and respect for all we’ve experienced, endured, and overcome the past 12 months. Most of us probably expected a pandemic-free year and a return to some sense of what we call normal.
That didn’t happen, and in spite of everything that did occur, we’re stronger now because of what we’ve been through. We were blessed and we’re still here to tell the story. Our stories, our truths.
Over the past 50 weeks, I’ve shared approximately 30,000 words in this space, and I planned to discuss the 12 most important things I said but I realized that there’s no mystery to which drums I beat. Not every week, but often–be kind, aware, send notes to your teachers, share with your neighbors and friends, vote, support veterans and their families, hold elected officials accountable, get involved—just call me Ringo Starr, my favorite Beatle.
Everything I thought was wonderful and profound probably wasn’t, but my intent was/is to enlighten, inspire, encourage, gently remind, prod, affirm—to matter, to make a difference. Nothing about that has changed. Here are a few other drumbeats I campaigned for this year:
Let’s purposely plan to be more generous and more sensitive, to look for opportunities to share hope, grace, and resources whenever and wherever we can. Together we can heal, help, and make the difference.
As the events of January 6 unfold and the rest of the story is revealed, we must do our part to protect the fragile foundations of democracy, build bridges, and try to heal our nation’s wounds.
We, the people, must remember that freedom is a precious gift. We owe too much to too many to stand idly by while our elected officials put party before people and fight among themselves. The last time I checked we have a government for, of, and by the people so that means we must steadfastly protect voting rights and be the people who advocate for fairness and access.
If our representatives cannot win elections on their own merit, they should not be permitted to govern through oppressive laws, gerrymandering, name calling, and wishy-washy rules.
One final drumbeat—the children. Our great-grandson, Avery, is almost six and served as supervisor for the building of the gingerbread house my older grandchildren and I built Christmas Eve. He was such a delight as he stressed the importance of reading the directions.
“Y’all aren’t builders. I am. I’m a professional,” he repeated when the house kept falling in.
We’re still not sure how, where, or when he got this professional training but he’s right—we need to read the directions for children and their care.
Children flourish when they’re loved, affirmed, respected, provided with a safe, caring home, nourishing food, attentive parents, adventure, and books. The number of homeless children continues to grow as does the number of children having to be removed from their homes because nobody’s reading the directions.
The children are our responsibility and each one deserves a village and lots of interested villagers—folks who ask about their grades, who volunteer at their school, who give them a pat on the back and remind them how magnificent they are.
Let’s intentionally (1) live into our greatness, like the late Bishop Desmond Tutu, (2) be someone’s hero, (3) forgive, (4) and give ourselves and others a second chance.
May the different drumbeats we’re marching to bring us all to a place of courage and peace.
Looking for inspiration, empowerment, uplift, straight talk, an encouraging word to brighten your day? You’ve arrived! Meet Dr. Cynthia Ann Bond Hopson, best-selling author, educator, inspirational speaker, sistergirl–she’s all that and more. Now listen to her new podcast, “Three Stores, Two Cotton Gins, One Remarkable Life: The Journey from There To Here,” and meet her favorite family and friends as they share laughter and heartwarming life lessons. Look for it on this page or wherever you get your favorite podcasts.