What can we learn about each other from some of the most impacting stories of the year? Well to begin, we're far more alike than we are different. Here are 4 lessons learned from the 4 stories that demanded the most media attention in 2017.
1.) Colin Kaepernick - Throughout America's short history, all protests have been accompanied by scrutiny (that alone shows there is a reason for the protest). Whether you choose to sit, kneel or even stand for what you believe in, there will always be people against you.
Woven into the belief of any American is that we have power to change what we see wrong in the world. It's so powerful that Kap believes that he can change the world, but he realizes he can't do it alone. The problems that Kaepernick speaks out on have been going on in communities for decades, they've just never been heavily talked about.
Taking the knee raised awareness, it opened the eyes of the country to see an issue that we had all been sleeping on. It was a call for others to help out and make America as GREAT as it has the potential to be. Some responded with encouragement, some called him a "son of a bitch"....
2.) Donald Trump - The President of the United States believes he can make America GREAT as well. Before we could even take a deep breath he was elected President and began exercising that prestigious power. Trump makes a LOT of statements that upset a LOT of people, but at the same time, this reckless rhetoric is what helped him get elected.
Rather than unfollowing every person that voted for Trump (if you're a Democrat) or blocking all of the "liberal snowflakes" out there (if you're Republican), how about you continue to listen to what they have to say. How could I ever get someone to listen to me, if I'm reluctant listen to them?
If you're an educated person, you'll have no problem expressing your views with other educated people. If you're going to have an argument with someone, it's best to assume that you can learn something from them. It's easy to tell when someone is making sense for themselves or if they're just repeating what someone else had told them. Think for yourself, but realize not everyone thinks like you...
3.) #MeToo - Wow, seeing so many of my friends share their #MeToo stories on Twitter or in person was unbelievable. I didn't truly understand how big of a problem this was, and I know some men never will. My mother and my sister, Ashley, are the most important people to me in the world. I wouldn't want them to EVER feel uncomfortable in any type of work environment or to feel like their voices are unheard when they speak out.
I have no idea what it's like to be a woman, that leaves me with no choice but to LISTEN to ladies when they speak. Ladies!!!! I'm listening, I promise and the more I listen, the more I learn. Your voice is more powerful than ever before!
4.) Natural Disasters - If you know a thing or two about natural disasters, you know that they are necessary for any environment or ecosystem. It's a cleanse, it allows nature to "trust the process" and begin to rebuild. We as individuals also experience our own inevitable natural disasters. Things that hit us and force us to rebuild who we are.
Nature's beautiful disasters captivate all that get the chance to see them. We marvel at the destruction, especially if we're not going through it ourselves. It's so easy to watch what happened with the hurricanes in Texas, Puerto Rico, and Florida and do nothing. It's easy to look at some videos on Facebook of the California wildfires and not look for ways to help.
When people are going through their own "natural disasters" it's easy to just watch it happen, to convince ourselves that any contribution we might make would be too insignificant. When you have the opportunity to make a difference, no matter how small, try to make it... because if you don't, who will? You never the know the impact that you may end up having.
I'm excited to see the lessons that 2018 will bring us, and to see growth from the lessons that 2017 has already taught.