I just finished demolishing an ottoman. Just reaffirming my manliness. I was going to say I just finished disassembling an ottoman, but that sounds like I used my brain. I was just out there smacking stuff with a hammer. I smell like man.
I’ve been thinking a lot about country music lately (should country be capitalized? Am I being disrespectful to the whole genre by lowercasing it?). I don’t think about country very often, as I have never much cared for it. It’s not like it’s the worst thing ever (I’m looking at you Ke$ha), it’s just not my favorite type of music. I admit, I am not-so-secretly in love with Taylor Swift’s Trouble, and she counts as country, right? It’s just that I could never stand the whole slide guitar/twang thing. And I never really understood this:
And especially not this:
But, I listen to punk, so I guess that means I understand this:
I haven’t been reflecting on Country (capital C, nothing but respect) music because I think I’ve made poor life choices, but I have heard one song a lot lately. It’s by a dude named Aaron Tippin. Now, for all you country music fans out there who can’t recall who Aaron Tippin is, allow me to refresh your memory with this all-too-classic pic:
If that doesn’t jar your memory (then something’s wrong with you), he is the dude who sings “You’ve Got to Stand for Something (or You’ll Fall for Anything).” The local ESPN radio station here in Austin plays clips of that song a lot during the B & E show, so I’ve been hearing it a lot lately. You know me, demolishing stuff, listening to sports radio, punchin’ nerds…dude stuff.
I agree completely with Mr. Tippin (sounds like a failed British sitcom). You have to stand for something. Each of us needs to know where our principles lie and stand up for those principles. We need to have integrity, honesty, and conviction for the things in which we believe.
The problem is, lately, we stand for everything. There are a lot of blogs, articles, and videos going viral lately. Each one of them has an incredibly important message that must be shared: genetically modified food is killing all of us, Miley Cyrus is psychotic so I need to write a letter to my kids, Mitt Romney was right all along. Unfortunately, the more we buy in and virate (that’s the verb for viral) these videos/blogs/etc., the less meaning and substance everything has. Everything is a big deal! Hannah Montana has us in an outrage this week, and with Facebook as our guide, we won’t stand for it…until next week when we are viraled (past tense) by something else. We spend so much time in outrageous support/opposition of the most recent viralion (that’s the noun version), that we have little time left to figure out or understand what is truly of lasting significance to us. We lose focus of what matters most and become unsure of what’s worth standing for. Suddenly, everything is passing; nothing is permanent.
So this week, spend a little less time in viralation and a little more time discovering what really matters. Spend more time understanding your own principles and values and make them mean more than they already do; don’t worry so much what Amanda Bynes is teaching your kid, worry what you are teaching your kid. Ignore the next “must read” post you see (except this one…this one really is a must-read). Worry less about all the outrageous info on the internet/news/etc. and a little more about immovable and unchangeable values: honesty, integrity, character, kindness, compassion, charity. Stand for those principles, or continue to, but leave Miley Cyrus out; we don’t have to devote time and attention to the vice in order to stand for our virtues. So, stand for something, not everything, or you may fall for everything.
Now, go put on a little Country Music and make this post go viral.
Rob Porter, Ph.D., LMFT
Marriage and Family Therapist and country music lover?, Austin TX