we deserve more

fifty shadesValentine’s Day is not my favorite day of the year. I have already mentioned some of the reasons why in an earlier post. This year, however, is worse than ever. My Facebook feed is full of posts about the upcoming movie “Fifty Shades of Grey” based on the book by the same name.

I have not read the book and I will not go see the movie. It holds no attraction for me. As a matter of fact, the basic idea of the content turns my stomach and makes me very angry and very sad at the same time.

I cannot avoid speaking out against this movie. Most movies would not get my attention in this way – my family will vouch for the fact that I sleep through most movies. However, it seems my WORD for 2015 is inspiring me to write this post.

I chose EMPOWER as my WORD for 2015.

All people deserve to be loved, respected, and empowered
for all the best that God created them.  

Every person is created with value, dignity, purpose and incredible power to love others and have a positive influence in our world.

One of the greatest threats to true, healthy power is disrespect, devaluing, and abuse of women. I have written about the need for advocates in the past and the amazing power that is attained when men and women work together.

Fifty Shades of Grey glamorizes disrespect, lust, abuse, manipulation, and violence of a man over a woman. The movie degrades both men and women alike, portraying self-centered, hurtful, and power-abusive attitudes and behaviors… and worse yet, the movie will premiere on a day that is supposed to honor love.

If you love yourself, your friends, and/or a special person in your life, please speak out against this movie and do not spend your time or money going to see it, not even for “curiosity”. It is not worth it.

It will not empower you to be all the best you can.

It will not empower anyone you take to see it.  

It breaks my heart to think that of how this movie – and others like it – negatively influence and distort the dreams and expectations of people searching for love today. I think of my own children and I want a very different experience for them.

As a woman who has been lovingly married for almost 30 years, I can tell you there are many greater ways to express true love. Do not settle for this low view of “love”. Both men and women can do much better than this movie. We deserve so much more.

What says love and respect to you? How do you help empower others?

why is diversity so hard?

studying togetherWhy is it so hard?

I often asked this question regarding my children when they couldn’t seem to get along. I have asked it about financial integrity, about exercise discipline, and about conflict resolution. These good goals seem to immediately attract excuses, emotional responses, and resistance as soon as we mention them.

Today, however, I ask it about men and women working together with mutual respect, equal opportunity, and sincere appreciation of the varied passions and strengths that both bring to the table.

Why is diversity so hard?

Why haven’t we been able to eliminate the disrespectful jokes and comments? Why don’t we apply the abundant literature that states how important it is to have gender diversity on teams and in leadership in order to increase the health and productivity of our organizations? Why do we continue to make excuses for antiquated policies and “old school” leaders that we know need to change? Why aren’t we willing to have honest and open discussions about moving beyond stereotypical criticisms and moving toward understanding, equity, flexibility, and progress?

I have actually been blessed to work in many situations and on many teams where men and women contributed and collaborated well together as unique individuals, valuing and appreciating variety in gender – as well as culture, age, experience, and expertise. Sadly, I have also worked in settings where people chose sides in constant battles for respect and opportunity.

I don’t believe there is any legitimate reason for such disparity and division between men and women. My faith tells me the root cause is our selfish sin…. thinking more highly of ourselves than we think of others, which leads to lack of respect, competition, insecurity and defensiveness. Maybe that is why this struggle is so entrenched and why it is so hard to defeat.

Although I get weary of the conflicts and I don’t have answers to all the questions, I think this challenge is worth fighting for – just like sibling love, balanced budgets, a strong body, and healthy relationships. Excuses, emotions, and resistance yield to information, open communication, and accountability for positive change. Offenses can transform into advocacy. I’d like to see grand-scale improvement, but many days I accept being content with small steps of progress. I start with changes in my life, and then I move to being an example for others. Maybe it will always be hard… but it can get better.

One day our descendants will think
it incredible that we paid so much attention to things
like the amount of melanin in our skin
or the shape of our eyes or our gender
instead of the unique identities of each of us
as complex human beings.
-Franklin Thomas

What do you do with hard situations? How do you bring about change?