Let’s face it, if ever there was a reason to drink, it’s 2016. It was officially declared the worst year ever by the vast majority of my Facebook feed several months ago, and that was before the election. Not to mention the escalations in terror and destruction around the world that keep mounting. Not to mention the celebrity deaths that surprise us almost daily. Not to mention the civil unrest that is festering in our own neighborhoods. Not to mention, wait, did I already mention the election? Well, it deserves to be on here twice. 2016 has been the dumpster fire of all dumpster fires, and with it finally winding down I can only assume someone is going to pour gasoline all over it, possibly a whole oil tanker.
Yet, 2017 doesn’t promise to be any better. It starts with the official U.S. tour of the He-Man Woman Haters Club: Billionaire Edition, and will, undoubtedly, unravel from there. Quickly, I assume.
I’m in the market for a mantra:
2017 is not a year for whispers. This will be the year we yell.
I must remain positive. I must remain vigilant.
Also, the Force is with me and I am one with the Force.
Also, when you wish upon a star your dreams come true.
Also, it’s 5:00 somewhere.
I know that I am not alone. I am fully aware that I am in very good, albeit reluctant, company. We all know that we need to work together for the common good, or increasingly uncommon as it has come to be. We are all accountable, and we will hold each other accordingly. But now it is closing time, and we are going to need a bigger bar.
The pending year may be nothing more than the turning of a page, but it is a symbolic one at that, and just like a gym full of fruitcake and earnest, I hope to exercise my demons upon it. The trick is staying the course, because once we let excuses become the new normal, we become (a bigger) part of the problem.
How do we make a difference?
- Let’s start at the beginning. Encourage hope, empathy, and action to live in our hearts and our home. Let our children see it, breathe it and know it by name. Talk to them, early and often.
- Stand up, not by. We all have a voice, and we need to use it. When we see wrongs, bring them to the attention of others. And we can’t wait for said wrongs to find us—seek them out. Find them. Call out injustice. Reward those that do right. 2017 is not a year for whispers. This will be the year we yell.
- Find a cause. There are plenty of them. This website alone lists dozens of charities and organizations that would benefit greatly from your time, money and other attentions. Something to consider, those that give often receive something pretty amazing in return—giving is the best gift, and the effects are circular.
- Keep going. Don’t give up. Doing good against an overwhelming wave of negative seas makes it far too easy to sink, but don’t. Swim. Float. Look for a raft. Throw a life-preserver to those around you, and hold on tightly. Do it again tomorrow. Bring a friend.
There are, obviously, several more ways to make a difference, and I, we, would love to hear your suggestions. Share them here, on social media, around the office, talk about it anywhere that good is needed. Hint: good is needed everywhere.
2016 may be the reason to raise a glass, but I can only hope that 2017 gives us something worth toasting. And by all means, drink responsibly.
This post is in partnership with Responsibility.org and the #TalkEarly campaign. Our collective mission is to eliminate drunk driving and speak to kids about underage drinking; also to promote responsible decision-making regarding the consumption of alcohol. It is a good cause, and while I am compensated as a #TalkEarly Ambassador, my opinions remain my own. Obviously.
Please learn more about Responsibility.org and #TalkEarly by connecting on social media:
Whit Honea is the co-founder of Dads 4 Change and the Social Media Director of Dad 2.0 Summit. Deemed “the activist dad” by UpWorthy (and one of the “funniest dads on Twitter” by Mashable), he is a regular contributor to The Modern Dads Podcast and the author of The Parents’ Phrase Book—a family guide to empathy that you should totally buy.