The best advice

I haven’t revealed much about myself other than through my poetry and art, which can be a bit esoteric at times.  So, here goes.  I sincerely hope you don’t find me boring.

The best advice I’ve ever been given.

“with great power comes great responsibility”

-Uncle Ben (from Spider Man, folks)

I take this very seriously.  This advice can apply to nearly everything you do in life.  When you are given things ranging from money, education, and knowledge to love, children, and leadership positions, you are given the power to do with them what you may.  I feel as if I have been given so much in life, and therefore I carry a burden of responsibility to impart my knowledge, to return to the community what it gave to me, to uphold the name of everything that I stand for, and to use my education and abilities to the best that I can.  If I don’t, that makes me feel selfish, ungrateful, and ashamed.  I have the power to do something, so I should.  If Superman actually existed but decided he didn’t want to use  his powers, that would really suck.  Now I’m not comparing anyone to Superman, especially not myself, but if you have something that others don’t have, you should really try to use it as best you can.

“pick your battles”

Many people have said this, but I grew up hearing it come from my dad’s lips time and time again.  As I grew older I realized he wasn’t so much explicitly referring to choosing which arguments are worth having, but rather urging me to decide what to stand for and  dedicate myself to.  Life’s endeavors are limited by the time you have available.  Lots of things clamor for your attention, so you have to choose carefully what you truly care about and believe in.

For example, I was thinking about how I justify not being a vegetarian.  Yeah, there are some horrible things that happen to animals in the food world, and we won’t even go there when it comes to the nutritional value of some of the meats available on the market.  But. Let’s say you are a vegetarian for ethical reasons.  For me, that’s a commitment that I cannot possibly make with the time that I have available.  It would take far too much effort to hunt down the specific details of the ethical practices of everything that I buy.

I would get way too into it.  Never mind meat, what if the plants I’m eating are picked by workers being paid ghastly low wages?  What if the company invests in something I don’t agree with?  What if the milk that I’m drinking was homogenized by a laboratory that dumps chemicals into the local river?  The long list of processes that are carried out before a piece of bread ends up on your dinner table – growing, harvesting, preparing, sending, packaging, preserving, selling, etc. – is simply too astronomical for me to begin to worry about ethical soundness.  There is certainly some good that can come out of vegetarianism and kudos to anyone who takes on that tricky task, but it’s not a battle I personally am willing to pick, and my honest opinion is that there are many other things that you can do to increase the morality of the world that would be more effective than eating no meat.


Instead, I choose to perform  community service that hits close to home and has a direct, immediate impact on those I am attempting to help.  For example, teaching kids about democracy and civics in an elementary school and helping them design and carry out their own community service project in their neighborhood (Generation Citizen; I did this last semester and had a fantastic experience).  The kids I worked with on the south side of Providence, Rhode Island worked to reduce gang violence and children’s entrance into gangs in their neighborhoods.  These students were so clearly positively impacted by the program – one of the few opportunities for them to have agency in affecting their community – that I couldn’t help but feel like I had actually made a difference.  Would I feel that way if I ate no meat, and could not observe my impact or be personally connected to those I aided?  Perhaps, but I reckon not as much so.

That’s a little bit about me and the way I think.  Thanks for reading!

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