Thursday, April 1, 2010

What Do You Stand For?

My soon to be 21-year-old son just got his first tattoo. He's been dreaming of it and planning for it for a couple of years now. He's a musician, like his parents, so he wanted it to be music-related. He's also a self-proclaimed "Peace Punk" a punk rocker who is all about non-violence. (Didn't know there was such a thing, did you?) Picture Kumbaya performed by the Sex Pistols. (FYI: His band, Combat Crisis, are huge in the Philly area. Google them. You'll be amazed how much comes up. My baby, Adam, is the drummer.)

Here's a picture of his new tat: In a couple of weeks, there will be color added, but I think you get the picture. The text? "I will not fight your battles, I will not die on your battlefields," lyrics from the peace-punk band, Anti-Flag.

This got me thinking. What do I stand for as a writer and as a person? I like to believe I stand for peace, honesty, integrity, harmony, charity, and great shoes, but do I really? Do my actions meet up with my tenets? Do I walk the talk? (My shoe collection screams, "Yes!")

As far as my writing goes, I weave greater meanings into my intimate stories: What goes around comes around; treat people how you like to be treated; forgiveness; being human means making mistakes, growing, and moving on. Messages of hope and humanity, peace and love. (Yes, I'll always be a hippie at heart.)

As far as what I stand for in life, I'm all about truth, justice, peace, compassion, family, and letting people live their lives as they see fit. I contribute monthly to my favorite charities and give huge bags of clothing to Goodwill, but I don't go to the soup kitchen or participate in the Race for the Cure (my mom's a breast cancer survivor). I interrupt someone if I hear an off-color joke, but I don't give my time to mentor an underprivileged child. Is being kind, writing checks, and using less electricity and water enough? Are those actions letting the Universe know what I stand for? Are they making a difference in the world?

From this point forward, I'm upping my game. I'll look for opportunities and take them, rather than thinking my plate is full. When I publish this post, I'll find a charity I like and volunteer my time. Writing those words sent shivers up my arms. Why? Because I'm comfortable. Very comfortable. But, you know what? I'm going to break out of my comfort zone in order to make a difference in what I stand for.

So, what about you? What do you stand for? What would you be willing to literally or theoretically tattoo on your arm?

48 comments:

Julie said...

Fantastic Post!!! It's time for all of us to break out of who and what we think we are and make a difference. Lead the charge!

Love Ya!

Jennifer Walkup said...

Great post and I'm ITA with all your passions (another hippie at heart here). Cool tattoo, also!

Debra L. Schubert said...

Julie, Thank you, my dear! More layers of the onion to peel off. I wonder why onions make us cry? Could it be that while revealing ourselves is freeing, it's also somewhat painful? Hmm... ;-)

Debra L. Schubert said...

Jennifer, Great hippies think alike. Glad you like the tat. ;-)

Laurie Lazar said...

I can't tell you how happy this post makes me, Debra Lynn! What I've found from the volumes of volunteering I've engaged in, is that the difference I've made in the world may be negligible, but the difference its made in me is huge. What a gift.

Laura Marcella said...

You're an inspiration! I've always thought about volunteering, and now it's time to get my rear in gear. Gotta stop thinking and start acting!

I'm from the Philly burbs, too, and I've heard of Combat Crisis in passing. So cool that's your son! It's a small world after all...oh, yuck. Now that tune'll be stuck in my head all day.

Caroline Starr Rose said...

I use my writing to express the dignity and worth of children.

Debra L. Schubert said...

Laurie Beth, You know what I just realized? I don't have to volunteer because you've done enough volunteering for the both of us. YAY!!!!

I know, I know, just kidding. I'll get my lazy arse in gear, I promise.

[God, I hate having people in my life holding me accountable for things, I mean, really. So rude!]

Debra L. Schubert said...

Laura, Yay, Philly burbs! I've been thinking about getting a group of women together maybe once a month for an old-fashioned "salon" type thing to talk about writing and art and music. Very Bohemian. Would you be interested?

Also, so cool that you've heard of Combat Crisis! Small world for sure.

Debra L. Schubert said...

Caroline, Thanks for your beautiful comment. ;-)

TerryLynnJohnson said...

Whoa! That's a large tattoo!
Good thought-provoking post. Way to go with being brave.
I used to volunteer teaching literacy to adults and found it challenging and rewarding.

Stephanie Thornton said...

Wonderful post! And that's quite the tattoo!

I've been talking to my husband about volunteering. It's hard to find the time, but we need to do it. I haven't volunteered since college!

Debra L. Schubert said...

Terry Lynn, Glad you enjoyed the post, and good for you for teaching literacy to adults.

I'm still trying to figure out what to do. I'll be sure to let people know. ;-)

Debra L. Schubert said...

Stephanie, I always thought volunteering would be a part of my life, but I'm sorry to say that hasn't YET been the case. However, there's no time like the present. After all, today is the first day of the rest of your life! [Let's see, how many more cliches can I fit in this comment?]

Travis Erwin said...

I am inkless but I've vowed to get some body art the day my first novel is published. I guess what I get will depend on which novel sells.

Karen Walker said...

What a fabulous post, Debra. And the tatoo is awesome. I don't think I'll be putting permanent artwork on my body any time soon, but I do stand up for those in retirement communities and nursing homes by volunteering there. I do it with my singing group, Sugartime,(named after the McGuire Sisters hit song). Bring music to those who can no longer get out to hear it is such a joy. Elders connect with music sometimes when they don't connect with anything else.
karen

LovesSam said...

My goodness, this post is amazing. And your son Adam sounds like a legend and that tattoo is brilliant. You are going to post another one when he gets it coloured in right?!

I know what you mean about talking the talk but not walking the walk. I've had this discussion with friends a number of times. I've donated to several charities in the past but it somehow doesn't seem like i'm actually helping anyone. Would they benefit from my time rather than my money? if that makes any sense.

I used to do volunteer work a lot when I was in high school. I went to church every sunday with my dad, and I would sit in the sunday school with the children, making pictures etc, while the sermon was taking place. When I was off during the week, i'd go into the local school and read with the children and do any ad hoc stuff that needed doing. But that has fallen by the wayside now that i'm a grown up and have a job to do and a blog to update.

This has really got me thinking that maybe I could do more than I do, maybe giving someone my time is more valuable than my money could ever be.

Thanks so much for this insightful thoughtful post. Me loves it

Debra L. Schubert said...

Travis, I have a feeling your body is made for ink. Mine, too, actually. Maybe I'll take your cue and do it as soon as I'm published. That would be very cool. ;-)

Debra L. Schubert said...

Karen, You are such a gem. And, Sugartime? I love it!! Really, that's a great name. Our band's name is Karma Chain, which I love. (Me and my honey.) Performing for the elderly is God's work for sure. Good for you for making their lives brighter.

Ruthanne Reid said...

Wow! Great post, as always. Very brave words, too. I really want to see what you choose and how it goes! I bet you'll find fuel for your writing, too.

Tawna Fenske said...

Fab post!

I started a habit about six years ago of always making one New Year's resolution designed to help me form a permanent habit involving the environment or some other worthy cause. For example, five years ago I vowed never to take home bags from the store (something I've stuck with, thanks to Chico Bags). I've made resolutions involving organic produce and use of electricity, but so far haven't done anything related to a regular habit of volunteerism. Might have to give that some thought. Thanks for the idea!

Tawna

Debra L. Schubert said...

Tawna, Glad you liked the post. I spent money on those environment-saving grocery bags and I leave them in my car every freaking time. I do reuse the plastic bags and recycle them, but still...

As soon as I figure out what I'm going to do to volunteer, I'll blog about it. PRESSURE!

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

I love your "what do you stand for" picture. Good for you volunteering! I serve at an assisted living center at least once a week. I have come to love those people. Carpe diem!

Laura Marcella said...

Great idea, Debra! I'm very interested; keep me posted!

Jemi Fraser said...

Really great post, Deb! Love the ideals in your son's tat. If I got one, it would probably be compassion or honour or love ... So hard to choose.

Ray Veen said...

You are an impressive woman. And yes, from what I know of you, you do seem to stand for all those things.

Debra L. Schubert said...

Kathi, Thanks for volunteering on a regular basis. It's people like you who've inspired me to join the party. And, thanks for the follow. Much appreciated!

Debra L. Schubert said...

Laura, Cool. I'll keep you posted. Also, let me know if you can think of any women you think would be interested. (You can email me at dlschubert@verizon.net) ;-)

Debra L. Schubert said...

Jemi, Great ideals/ideas for a tattoo. And, you're right - it is hard to choose. ;-)

Debra L. Schubert said...

Ray, Yay, Ray's back! I've missed you, my friend. So glad to hear about your breakthrough idea. Can't wait to hear how it goes!

Tawna Fenske said...

Debra, re: the reusable bag thing, have you tried Chico bags? I did the same thing you do (i.e. forgetting my reusable bags in the car) until I found Chico bags. They roll up to be really small, and fit easily in a purse. They also make excellent cat toys in their folded form!

Tawna

Voidwalker said...

Great post, cool tattoo and good reflection on your purpose.

You asked what I stand for, so here ya go. I believe whole heartedly in Jesus Christ and the sacrifice he made to make things right between me and God. Everything I do, should be for him, sometimes it's not, but in the end, most of my decisions are based on that love for my savior. It says in the bible that all the good works (charity or not) are like filthy rags to God and there is only 1 way to please him.... it's to have faith in him. If you do, then everything you do (as a good work) is done in the name of Christ for his sake and that's where the real value is.

Thanks for letting me share what motivates me.

koralee said...

My daughter got one for her 17th Birthday last June{a gift from me}...a bible verse on her foot. I sooooooo want to get a small one too...still thinking about it. Love your post today...we all can make a difference..we just can not be afraid to do so. Hugs for you today. xoxo

gayle said...

Great post! I had been thinking that I would vol. after retiring but why not think about it know. Just don't know what I would do! I am thinking!!

Debra L. Schubert said...

Tawna, Perfect. Like I need another reason to go to the mall. But, since I believe strongly in saving the Earth, I guess I'd better take one for the team. Chico's, here I come!

Debra L. Schubert said...

VW, I'm not the organized religion type, however, I admire your honesty and commitment to what your believe in. If Jesus motivates you, go for it. And may you have a joyous Easter!

Debra L. Schubert said...

Koralee, It's good to step back and take a look at the big picture every now and then. It's so easy to get caught up in the little, ego-oriented stuff. Hugs to you, my friend, and Happy Easter!

Fragrant Liar said...

I'm basically the laziest person I know, but I do think about what I'd like to do on a volunteer basis. I have quite a few things in mind. Anything to do with my kids will get me in motion pronto.

Not enough hours! said...

Fantastic post!

Giving yourself is great, but sometimes a charity needs those cheques too, so that is good enough till you are able to up the ante.

What do I stand for? I stand for every individual attaining their full potential- of having the means to, and the will.

Debra L. Schubert said...

FL, It's great to get kids involved w/volunteering. It's something I wish I'd done more of when they were younger. Stop being lazy and go for it! ;-))

Debra L. Schubert said...

NEH, So glad you found me!

"I stand for every individual attaining their full potential- of having the means to, and the will."

Wow, just wow.

Michelle Witte said...

Debra,

That's an awesome tat, but I love how you tie it in with the post. When I read the last paragraph about finding a charity to support, it hit me. I'm actually (seriously) considering starting a charity to tie in with Fire Petal Books, the children's/YA bookstore I'm opening.

At first I looked around for one that related to what I want to accomplish with the store—teaching kids and teens how to write as a way to improve literacy and education as well as providing a healthy outlet for exploring and understanding their emotions and basically their lives. I couldn't find one that fit what I want to do, and so I think I'll have to start my own.

It'll be a ton of work, but the benefits will be incredible. I do have to pace myself, though, and get the bookstore running smoothly before adding other pieces into the mix. But eventually that's what I want to focus on, and the bookstore will be a great avenue for me to accomplish some of those things.

Sorry for the ramble (I really should be in bed), but reading that last paragraph felt right, in that I do need to focus my time and effort on doing what I love, yes, but also doing something to help others at the same time.

sanjeet said...

You're an inspiration! I've always thought about volunteering, and now it's time to get my rear in gear. Gotta stop thinking and start acting!
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Vancertdr said...

I love your "what do you stand for" picture. Good for you volunteering! I serve at an assisted living center at least once a week. I have come to love those people. Carpe diem!

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