Patrick J McCormick
Blogs by Patrick J McCormick
Why do so many people feel the need to be on a bandwagon?
2/14/2005 8:43:13 PM
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Why do so many people feel the need to be on a bandwagon?
I think it would be nice if everyone could act as an independent person and not feel the need to copy what they perceive in others to be the in-thing. Some of these in-things can be good as long as we remember the reason behind it. I am thinking of at present of the water bottle. I think it was an excellent idea for someone out jogging to carry a bottle of water, but the important thing was the water not the bottle it was in. How many people jumped on that wagon? Unfortunately many of them felt the important thing was to be seen with a water bottle. I even saw a man three days ago leave his house to go for a walk and he was carrying a water bottle. I never saw him take a drink and after walking behind him for a while, I looked at the bottle and saw it was empty. I have a feeling the water bottle was not the only thing that was empty. I believe many people have mistaken the excellent idea of carrying water, for when you need to be refreshed as a status symbol, and how important have status symbols become?
I think there are of coarse many of these in-things which do a lot of harm. How many of us would love to tar and feather the person who came up with the phrase ‘Politically Correct’? How many lives have been turned upside down with that one? How many words, which everyone had used in good faith, without any thought of slighting anyone, became taboo, just because someone wanted to jump on that bandwagon and were looking for something to justify their existence. If they had used some independent thought, it would have been much better to create something new rather than tear something apart. Many people with insight have campaigned against things they justly perceived to be wrong and gain deserved recognition for it. Unfortunately many others do not perceive the justice of that campaign; only the recognition that they perceive came from the demonstration, and strives to imitate it.
I remember the crusade some years back with many unmarried and childless women feeling they had a duty to teach parents how to raise their children. At that time I was raising two children on my own, and joined Parents Without Partners (PWP) because of the social functions. A woman in her early thirties started to turn up at the meetings and one evening she started to talk about disciplining children. In her view even a slight tap to a child’s hand or bottom was an indignity to that child. After debating the point with her for a little while, I asked her how many children she had raised? Her answer shocked a few of us. She had never had any children and had never been married. The obvious comment from most of us was why are you here, to which she replied, she had come out of the goodness of her heart to teach us parents how to look after our children. Unfortunately I cannot print the comments that followed, but I think your imagination can take care of it. I believe if discipline is necessary it has to be given early while the parent is still cool and there is little likelihood of injuring the child. The child is also aware of why he or she is being disciplined. If however the parent waits until he or she loses his or her temper, the child runs the risk of being injured. In addition the child learns only one lesson in that case, watch out when mom or dad get angry, but as long as the parents don’t get angry, it is alright for the child to do as that child wishes.
How many words have lost their meaning because someone used the word in a different context How many of you remember when the word ‘gay’ meant jolly or happy. Then some from the homosexual community who for some reason did not like to use the word homosexual, and perhaps also wishing to make others feel it was a jolly or happy existence, started to describe themselves as gay. I believe the word homosexual describes their persuasion perfectly while the word gay does not. When you consider, however that since most people have stopped using the word gay in its original text and use it to mean homosexuality, then the homosexual community is back where it started, but most of us have lost the use of a perfectly good word.
Every person is important and every person has a right to feel he or she and what he or she does is important, unfortunately our society tends to emphasise the winner and those who are not are too often considered losers. Our competitive spirit has brought us to great heights and we should always be seeking even greater heights. The old proverb ‘through the discontent of man the worlds best progress springs’ is very true. I can’t help think though if we were a bit more tolerant of those who are not the winners then maybe they might not feel the need to achieve greatness by copying someone else they perceive to be great. We cannot all be winners in the competitive game of everyday life, but we all have dignity and most of us have things we do well and are proud of. If that could be channeled in such a way that no one would feel inadequate when compared to the winners, then what great heights could we not achieve?
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