All of my life, I have been part of a very Southern family, with all of the good and bad that comes with that. I've strung tobacco on a stick to be hung to cure and worn taffeta crinolines that swish when you walk. I've churned butter and been to a cane grinding. I've witnessed racism and experienced the greatest levels of hospitality. Through all of this, I'm very proud to be an American.
I love that people put their hands over their hearts during the national anthem. I love the spirit of the American people that brings them together when life gets really tough. I love visiting the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and seeing the lone guard that stands watch over it, symbolically memorializing those that have been lost in battle but not forgotten.
With a President-Elect chosen, there are likely to be changes and some will affect how you live.
There are countless problems in our country, and I could easily list what I believe the top ten without stopping for breath. But I explicitly believe that there's a lot from my Southern upbringing that can help and go a looooooooong way with a lot of the problems we have as a country.
I'm so glad you asked; here they are.
1) Say "Bless your heart" more often. This is a phrase best used when you truly feel empathy for someone, but can also be used when, although you are tempted to be critical about something that truly does not matter in the big scheme of life, you hold your tongue and instead use this phrase. I formally give all non-Southerners license to use this phrase. Go ahead, try it. It's truly liberating.
2) Be nice. A phrase that goes a long way is "Pretty is as pretty does." Do nice things and think about how you can be thoughtful. Can you let that car in front of you in traffic? Yes ma'am/sir. It is not going to keep you from getting to your destination any less quickly. Can you hold a door? Smile at someone? Yes.
3) "I reckon." Or, I suppose, I think, I imagine, I guess. Get involved in actual conversation with people and ask them about themselves, share about your life, figure out a reason why. For anything. A lot of great ideas have come from being jotted down on the back of a paper napkin -- do you know why? Because people sat down and talked. Also, hearing other people's stories often will make you either realize you have it pretty good, or that you're not alone in what you're going through.
4) "If the good Lord's willin' and the creek don't rise," meaning that I will do something unless there is a major catastrophe. The lesson here is to do what you say you are going to do. Follow through. Let your word, or your promise, be worth something.
5) When you are "worn slap out," rest. And want to hear a secret? You can actually stop before then. Life in the 21st century is so busy. There are so many expectations and people are overcommitted and no wonder people are so angry -- they're tired. Work hard 6 days, then take a complete day to rest and reconnect with the God who loves you and with people you love.
6) Go to church. You can go to any number of churches, but look for one that not only shares the truth of the Bible but really cares about people. One that is truly a hospital for the hurting, not a country club for the "could care less."
Are these six things going to balance the budget? Reverse the trade deficit? Unlikely. But they can help us start on some problems we can fix. Start now and you will like what you see. Just don't wait until the cows come home.