Patrick Gannon: Seeking peace in troubled times
RALEIGH – The holiday season should never be sad.
But as I read and watched all of the bad news unfold the week before the holiday, it was hard not to feel that way.
I was going to write this column about Medicaid expansion or Gov. Pat McCrory’s war with the media or some other everyday topic in North Carolina government.
But they can wait.
This past weekend, I watched my 4-year-old daughter play ping pong for the first time with her grandfather. It came after a week when the news featured horrible story after horrible story.
She whacked that ball back and forth, smiles beaming from her face. Tennis lessons in her future, my wife and I agreed.
Then I started thinking about that future. She had no idea that two cops had just been assassinated in Brooklyn, where her uncle used to live, or that more than 130 kids not too much older than herself had been murdered days earlier in Pakistan, or that North Korea apparently is threatening the United States — over a movie.
What world will she grow up in?
That’s where we all come in. No, we can’t stop all violence from occurring. We can’t always stop crazy people bent on destruction from having their way.
But we all can control our little spaces. We can treat the people we encounter with respect. We can buy coffee for the person behind us in the drive-thru. We can choose not to push send on the mean-spirited social media post.
We can stop blaming everyone else for our shortcomings and strive to get better. We can put ourselves in other people’s shoes. We can hear the other side of the story and respect it, even if we disagree.
We can make resolutions for the new year and keep them. We can take our dogs on longer walks. We can spend more time with our families and less with our phones. We can drive a little more sanely.
And we can play ping pong with our kids. They deserve it, and we need it today more than they — hopefully — will ever know.
Patrick Gannon writes for Capitol Press Association.