Time is short. It’s fleeting. In a blink of an eye, things change, times change, people change. If we are lucky, we grow and become better in those moments. Over the past weekend, I’ve thought a lot about time and how quickly it goes. The catalyst for my pondering on time was an unlikely source – a Garth Brooks concert.

With a large cohort of North Carolinians, I made the trek to Raleigh to see Brooks in one of his three shows in our capital. Oddly enough, my 15-year-old son is what took me to the concert. He is what some would call an “old soul.” He loves music – all kinds – from Johnny Cash to The Knack to Bad Company to Garth Brooks. So, it was at his urging that I purchased tickets to the show as his Christmas present. 

Listening to Brooks sing his hit list, I was carried back to different times in my life and what those songs meant to me then and what they mean to me now. It’s amazing how their meaning has changed in my current stage of life. And, on Saturday night, it hit me that my little boy is now a young man. It also hit me that this young man will truly only be mine for two more years, and then, he will spread his wings and move on to college and what I believe will be a successful life.

That’s a hard realization for a mother – but not a scary one.

I believe that with the help of a loving community of teachers, mentors and friends who are family, we have given our boy the tools that he needs to succeed in this crazy thing called life. I see this in the way he deals with conflict, in the way he steps up to be a leader, in the way that although he is big, he always takes care of the littles. Even knowing that he is more than ready to take on what life throws at him, I am saddened that my generation and the previous generations have failed his generation in so many ways.

We have left our world a pretty chaotic mess. Common decency and respect for human life seem to be at an all-time low; of course, countless other generations have probably felt the same. But I haven’t lived them or watched the decay of all that I believe is good about America. This past week has made that abundantly clear.

Demonstrations, protests, fights – all over the election – have dominated the news cycle. It is beyond comprehension that freedom-loving people cannot have an intelligent debate and agree to disagree without becoming violent. But that comes down to the hard truth that we have so devalued life and freedom that a majority of Americans do not exercise their greatest freedom: their right to vote. And a vocal few shout down the voices of reason and feed the fire of chaos. This has to stop. Time passes quickly. Words said can’t get unsaid and a gun can’t be unfired.

America is hard work. It is a struggle. But it’s one that is worth it. Freedom has a price, and for many in our nation, that ideal is coming home to roost. Time passes quickly. We need to stop the political gamesmanship and hate-filled dialogue that is tearing down this great nation. And we have to do it one person at a time. It’s up to you. It’s up to me and it’s up to young men like my son who are coming of age to recognize that the greatness of America is worth saving – even if it is one word at a time.

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