Calling all inventors to come up with integrity and morality trackers. Please!

By November 2, 2018 No Comments

I think it is in the Bible that wisdom comes from the mouths of babes. It must be the raw, unfiltered innocence, sobering and provocative. It is never pleasant when the truth slaps you in the face. On one of our car rides home, my 12-year-old declared that she wouldnt mind competing in a weekend swim meet as long as it didnt involve committing to practice all season. Training is draining, a total waste of precious time that could be better spent on Netflix.

That slap of wisdom brought to the forefront of my active and imaginative mind the countless daydreams I have had the front seat to, of my book-signing events at packed bookstores, throngs of eager fans waiting to meet me ME! They included intimate conversations with Oprah Winfrey under a big magnolia tree. Oprah Winfrey and me ME!

Interestingly, the book-writing process that endless training alone without the fans and Oprah Winfrey, hours upon hours of hard labour toiling away at the keyboard or in the pool while everyone else in the world seems to be watching Netflix and sitting with Oprah that never crosses my mind nor materializes into my reality.

Which brings me to complacency and the human spirit. The Oxford Dictionary defines complacency as:

A feeling of smug or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one’s achievements.

I remember hearing my dad often say that our world seems to be full of leaders with no one to lead and teachers with no one to teach. That was 46 years ago.

The activist is not the man who says the river is dirty. The activist is the man who cleans up the river. Ross Perot

Have we become too smug with our own greatness/leadership/guruship that we have forgotten we are also the led, the student, and the served? Our human prowess and the very essence of what makes us unique above all is this complex and seamless polarity that transcends daydreams and fatwas to actions and labour. Human greatness comes with responsibility, personal accountability, and training.

My fitness tracker holds me accountable every day. I panic when I waste a physical activity while my tracker is charging. I work out to please it. Honestly. This applause comes in a glowing celebration on my phone screen at the end of a day built around the number of steps, the swim distance, and the runs. (Please note that I have expressed grief out loud at the fact that my fitness tracker does not acknowledge kick laps in the total swim distance. I have gone as far as asking the coach to cancel them. This came at around the same time I discovered I had an addiction to my fitness tracker.)

What we need is an integrity and morality tracker that holds us accountable for our thoughts, words, and actions outside our prayer mats.

I see it clearly in my beloved little corner of the world. There is a growing disconnect between the advancement and growth we celebrate on paper, podiums, and social media, i.e. my daughters swim meet, and the state of the street outside my home: potholes, filth, and open electric lines. (Who wants to bother with the dreary training after all?) We celebrate the number of university graduates, as we struggle to accept to wait in line. We blame our government for the filth of our public bathrooms, as we continue to desecrate public space. We post inspiring messages on social media about love, and we envy our neighbour for her win.

I suspect our babes will continue to shock us awake with insights. And until we rise up and recognize that what will make a difference in the end are the small honourable things we do every single day when no one is watching including acts of kindness, gratitude, discipline, personal responsibility, and BLANK (swim?) training. And until those integrity trackers start selling on Amazon, we have to make do with what we have: our internal morality compass and introspection at the end of the day, as the fitness trackers sync: have we put a smile on someones face? Have we been truthful? Have we cleaned up after our dog?

I often wonder what my father would say of our state now. He lived at a time when honour and courage were in our DNA, and still we complained. The genes have mutated today into complacency for some and delusions of grandeur for others. And more than ever before, leaders still have no one to lead, and teachers no one to teach. Everyone is standing at the podium with Oprah Winfrey, and no one is watching.

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.Ghandi

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