This is a Guest Post written by friend that I recently met through a social sharing site called Triberr. When you have finished reading the article that he has written for Nathan's Voice, and if you are interested in visiting Mike's blog, please click the link towards the end of this post.
What is the “Moral of the Story Is” and what could I possibly have to share with a blog about Autism? That is the question I pondered when Lorrie approached me about writing a guest blog. She had been kind enough to do a piece for my site and I wanted to be able to return the favor. She shared in wonderful detail about Nathan’s Voice for my readers. I’m a self depreciating, cynical, smart aleck. What could I offer people that deal with such a serious topic as special needs children? I believe the answer is; a common voice.
I owe all whom are reading this, a clarification to the last sentence. I do not have any special needs children. I don’t have any children at all. My wife and I have dogs, and that’s as close as we come to having something we are responsible for that relies on us for daily survival. The best I can offer to anyone with children, much less special needs children, is empathy. To anyone that might be offended I suggested we share a common voice, all I ask is that you read on before you pass judgment.
Fear, love, happiness, sorrow, joy, pain, peace and calamity are among many of the emotions I’ve felt in my life. There are not only words, but emotions and often are experiences. Without assuming I know anyone who is reading this, I suspect these are emotions that we have in common. In my opinion, these are some of the very same emotions that bind all people together as a society. My experiences in life will never be identical to anyone else. What I feel while I experience my life is almost always identical.
I started TheMoralOfTheStoryIs.com, and my current goal of having it as a common ground for people to share their experiences was not my intention. I’m very pleased to say it is what I want for the site going forward, but it started under a different notion.
Having looked back on some of the things I’ve experienced and some of the stupidity I’ve gotten myself into, I thought it would be fun just to share those moments with the world. I cannot answer why I thought that would be a good idea, but I wanted to none the less. As I wrote story after story from my life there was something very common about all of them. I enjoyed adding what I felt and how I experienced each one of those moments. At first I thought sharing my emotions during my life made me vulnerable. As I continued to write, I realized just how wrong I was about feeling vulnerable. Sharing the emotions and thoughts I felt in life had empowered me. The empowerment came from the realization that I am not alone. I am not unique by having fears, happiness, pain and calamity. I am but one of many.
Yes, I still love to write sarcastic tweets about news events and love to post a Face book link to something stupid someone did. In keeping true to who I am, well, that’s who I am. I find humor in the absurdity of others. Sadly, there’s never a shortage of material to choose from. I digress.
The real passion I have for “The Moral” kicked in as I started to ponder human emotion. I may be too egotistical, but I hadn’t really considered that other people felt the same way I did before. Until recently, I hadn’t had conversations with neighbors or coworkers and considered they might be frightened or going through pain TOO. Having this new bond with the rest of humanity has driven me to want to experience more and more of it. I want to know about people and what they experience in their life. I’m truly fascinated.
Now that I firmly believed we were all walking through life together, I couldn’t help but notice how much our society tries to drive us apart. Ever watch the cable news? The entire format tends to be about some group of people and why they’re different and/or wrong from us. (Looking at you FOX & MSNBC) Ever watch reality tv game shows? It’s always about one person surviving to win while everyone else gets left behind. I’ll go so far as to group most “reality tv” together. Those shows prey on the fact that viewers will want to see how “other people live”. It all perpetuates an us/them mentality. No matter what the us/them is about, there’s “us” and then there’s “them”.
It saddens me that we continue to find new ways to be different from each other. No, I am not suggesting that individuality is bad. Be your own person. What does bother me, is that as a society, we’ve reached a point where “different than me = bad.” I challenge you to think about that last sentence for a second. Just to yourself. Do you see it in society? Maybe do you see it in yourself? I suggest we stand up and stop looking at what makes us different (religious or atheist, rich or poor, married or single, etc, etc) and go back to finding that common ground that makes us all the same.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with a diverse group so far with The Moral. I’ve gotten to know on a different level; a special needs parent, a radio dj, a fitness guru, an author, professional wrestler, and Iraq War veteran. I hope to only continue to diversify the group and meet more people. They each had a different story to share, yet each one of them was the same as me and the same as you. Each is a person trying to live their life and have learned their lessons along the way.
I’m going to keep doing what I do. I hope the idea catches on and my site grows. If you look on my site, you’ll see no advertising, so my dream is not to get rich off creating The Moral. My goal is that over time a library of morals will be available for others to share and read. I hope we find a collective inspiration in understanding that while all our lives are different, we share so much in common with each other.
I end each piece I write for my site with “The moral of the story is…” and if you’ll indulge me here I’d like to do the same. The moral of the story is, I’m honored to walk through my life with all of you and I hope you feel the same.