By Kadee Taylor
It’s All About Me
I’ve struggled to find words for what I learned by attending the United Nations. The Commission on the Status of Women can be a source of sensory overload. The need for constant discernment is mentally exhausting and left me feeling rather overwhelmed. I rarely take anything at face value as it is, so as I walked into the UN, my guard was up.
Questions such as “What do they really mean? What are they getting at? Where is the agenda hidden in this message? Where are they getting these statistics from?” constantly assaulted my frame of reference.
The overarching message was hulking: It’s all about me. What do I want? What are my desires? What will make me happy? How have I felt oppressed? What rights do I demand? What consequences should I be exempt from? This mentality dimmed my soul and left me feeling hollow.
I’ll be the first person to tell you that I am far from selfless. However, I was raised in a culture that taught me that choices are to be made and sacrifices are to be born for the greater good of the whole, for others.
I’ve been taught that worrying about myself and my success alone will lead to unhappiness and emptiness. I’ve come to learn through experience that helping others and focusing on their needs brings unmeasurable light, love and compassion into my life. My greatest sense of fulfillment in life has come through serving others.
I came to the UN wanting to have an impact. Don’t we all want to make a dent? I wanted to learn how I could reach out to others and impact their lives for the better. However, I was instantly bombarded with messages about how getting what I want will make me happy and somehow improve society simultaneously.
The attitude of self-gratification that seems to exude from the UN is not the route to long-term peace and happiness. Thomas Merton in his book, No Man Is An Island, says the following, “It is therefore of supreme importance that we consent to live not for ourselves but for others. When we do this we will be able first of all to face and accept our own limitations.”
In all reality, we would be more content as individuals if we were constantly striving to live for others, rather than for ourselves.
No Man Is An Island
The core message at the United Nations is that of allowing individuals to make any choice they desire, while anticipating that the result will be individual and societal prosperity.
They are missing the mark, by a long shot.
Mounds of social science evidence show that strong families build strong individuals and strong societies. A study by Brad W. Wilcox and some of his colleagues states that “Family structure is a better predictor of outcomes like economic mobility, child poverty and median family income than are race or education.”
Yet I know of no government on earth whose sole endeavor is to empower individuals and society by means of strengthening the family.
A world that promotes self-pleasure, in all of its varying forms, as a means to a happy, healthy and successful life, will in reality lead only to dead ends and disappointments. On a personal, economic and global level, individualistic mentalities will be our downfall. To believe that your actions, lifestyle, or choices are of no consequence to anyone but you, is foolish and shortsighted.
There is so much irony in their reasoning. Many preach the message that the choices that we make every single day impact our environment, the air we breathe and millions of oceanic ecosystems. Yet societies and governments have somehow come to believe that the choices we make every single day impact no human being but ourselves? It is ludicrous.
If our society, and the world as a whole, continue to value only the rights and choices of individuals, with no regard to impact on society or the family, we will all suffer the serious consequences of deteriorating family systems and decaying individual empowerment.
What is to be Done?
No family is perfect, and it would be unwise to strive for some unattainable standard in any area of life. However, we can stand up and speak out. The value that family adds to society, individual empowerment and economic growth cannot be rightly ignored.
We strive for the best in every other category or aspect of life, so let us strive for the best when it comes to families, individuals and nations.
I urge citizens, leaders, and people of influence everywhere to place as their highest priority the protection and strengthening of the family as the irreplaceable foundation of civilization and our only hope for prosperity, peace, and progress.
This piece originally appeared on Kadee’s blog*