By: Mandi Campbell
What every American is thirsty for is a bit of good news.
It’s been so frustrating to watch the mainstream media vilify those who have even the slightest desire to live for something greater than themselves. Tim Tebow has provided us the greatest example of this. The media is fervently watching him, waiting for him to fall or fail, waiting for proof that he’s the hypocrite that he actually claims to be, as a confessing Christian – the essence of Christianity is the recognition that every man falls short of living a perfect life deserving of an eternal reward, but understands that perfection, Christ, is the standard that we spend our entire lives learning to emulate. Failing to understand this, the public eye is watching, waiting for him to fall.
A recent example has emerged in Chuck Colson who died just a few weeks ago. Rather than celebrating the majority of the life that he lived as a repentant Christian whose purpose was to make the lives of other people better, the mainstream media dwells on Chuck Colson’s most public sin, his participation in Watergate. Instead of providing an image of Chuck Colson’s life as one to be emulated, which it was and is, the media projects the lowest common denominator, an event in Chuck Colson’s life that he may have regretted, had God not used it to radically change who he was and what he saw as his purpose.
Why is that? What is going on in America that causes us to focus so diligently on the worst in people?
Self-righteousness is the answer. From a humanitarian perspective, what I’ve done to better the lives of others is dwarfed in comparison to the efforts and successes of Tim Tebow and Chuck Colson. Since I want to feel good about me, I’d rather talk about what they’ve done wrong, as what they’ve done right makes me feel guilty, like I haven’t done enough. And, of course, I don’t want to be pushed to do more.
I recently learned a new term: slacktivism-doing something that results in the feeling that one has effected change when the actual effect is nominal at best; lazily supporting causes and people, without doing anything difficult or inconvenient.
Is this what we’ve come to as Americans, a bunch of lazy folks who want to highlight people’s failures rather than successes because it lowers the bar for us, keeping us from feeling guilty about not positively impacting the world around us?
When I was in business school, which wasn’t all that long ago, I was taught in my organizational management classes to set high, attainable goals for my employees because if I did so, my employees would strive to meet my expectations, as this is how the employees’ needs for esteem and self-actualization in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs would be met. However, as a college instructor I simply haven’t found that to be so. I’ve found instead of jumping to clear the high, yet attainable bar I’ve set for my students, they seek grades that they haven’t earned and dodge deadlines that are inconvenient for their schedules. I know that I have lowered my expectations as a result of becoming disenchanted by the laziness of my students.
No more. We cannot encourage better living by lowering our standards. It’s time that we honor and esteem those who have lived well, those who have overcome great obstacles and have set the bar high for those who follow in their footsteps.
It’s time for every girl in America to stop wanting to be with Tim Tebow and to start wanting to be like him. It’s time for us to look at Chuck Colson, respect the change that he underwent, and to strive to touch lives like he did, giving hope to the hopeless.
Slacktivist does not describe Tim Tebow or Chuck Colson and it shouldn’t describe you and me. Rather than dwelling on the negatives in others, in an effort to bring them down to our level, let’s strive to make it up to theirs. You may not have the platform of Tebow or Colson, but you can be more than a slacktivist.