Seeing the best in life's challenges

You Can’t Legislate a Heart

on August 17, 2012

Thanks to my friend Lynda Allen for the following.  I thought it was important to share:

You can’t legislate a heart. That seems to me the biggest problem we face in this country and possibly the world. You can’t legislate a heart. You can’t legislate kindness or love or decency or compassion or civility. I think our founding fathers knew this truth, so they gave us teaching tools instead, words to inspire and remind us: We hold these truths to be self-evid…ent, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Granted, they didn’t actually live the all men (or women) are created equal part, but we can. They gave us words to guide our hearts, to teach and inspire our hearts. For that is what you can do with a heart, inspire it, guide it, teach it, and most importantly show it. That is what leaders can do, whether the leader is a politician, a parent, a teacher, a neighbor or a spiritual leader. They can show a heart kindness. They can inspire a heart to compassion. They can guide a heart with love. They can teach a heart civility.

When I first began looking at the divisiveness that seems to pervade our country at the moment I wondered with sadness, what will it take? What tragedy will it take to unite us? Then I watched with horror as the shootings in Colorado and Wisconsin unfolded. I was further saddened when it seemed that the unity created by these tragedies was short lived.

You just can’t legislate the hate out of a heart. You can’t legislate a heart to believe in the same God as you. You can’t legislate a heart to love all people; whether they have the same mental or physical capacity as you, as much or as little money as you, the same definition of family as you, or the same color skin as you. You simply can’t legislate a heart.

So we must look to ourselves and to each other to teach and inspire and guide and show our hearts. I realized we are the leaders we are looking for; we are what it takes to unite us. We don’t need to look to our leaders; they ought to look to us. We need to look to each other, really look, and see the heart there, see the inherent worth and goodness there, see the humanity there. It should be our hearts that set the tone for our country with each choice we make and each word we speak. We should inspire our leaders to lead with love, to lead with kindness, to lead with compassion, to lead with civility. We have the courage within each heart to create unity despite differing politics, religion or point of view, to demonstrate tolerance. Now is the time for us each to lead our lives with heart and create the vision of Freedom this country was founded upon, rather than create m ore divisiveness and tragedy. Now is the time for us each to look to our own hearts and begin there.

Lynda Allen

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