Ladies, gentlemen, and all of the delightful young people:
Many people in my extended family are charmed by your lives and admire the courage and positive energy you show in meeting the challenges which exist in your lives.
So, I’m glad that the Gods of Media having singled you out has created financial abundance to assist you with your special needs. I have read on the blogs and elsewhere misdirected criticism about the million dollar houses, big farms and so forth. It’s misdirected because you don’t boost someone up by tearing someone else down.
I know that you are an inspiration for your viewers.
But I’m worried that can go too far. I’m not sure exactly what the emotional state is called which is that of extending concern to your fellow humans. Certainly, it is a useful one. It has given us Clara Barton, Mohandas Gandhi, Mother Theresa. I know even less of the psychopharmacology involved, seratonin or endorphins or what. I worry, though, that constantly watching from the grandstands will fulfill our inner need to care for others, that after seeing the challenge of caring for many children or dealing with physical arrangements made for persons of drastically different size, we will go to bed thinking, hey, today I have CARED.
Sorry, but that’s a fundamental error. People who thump the Bible annoy me. So do people who deny good sense just because it’s in there. From Chapter 2 of the Book of James:
“What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”——but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. Now someone may argue, ‘Some people have faith; others have good deeds.’ But I say, ‘How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.’ You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?”
In other words, caring is a bitch. We have to work at it, not just feel it. Look, within 10 miles of each of your homes, there are semi-permanent homeless encampments. Ditto, nursing homes. Lots of diapers are a problem, sure. Well, been to a nursing home lately? Caring for bedfast adults incontinent to feces and urine is tough, and that says nothing about the life those patients lead. Talk about the physical world not working for you - I think of my friend who died last October - I still remember her so clearly from when we were in high school - near the end, she could not even move around in bed because the cancer had so weakened her bones that nearly anything would cause a very painful fracture. OK, a “reality TV” series about her would have been a total downer, or even a series about where she was, which is a top-notch nursing home. But there is so much need there. And not just for internal caring. Even if it’s by demonstrating to someone that there is ONE other person in the world who thinks about them and cares about them, you build rather than simply watch.
John, Kate, Matt, Amy, and all of the media people, keep telling your stories. Would you also consider mentioning that lots of other humans have stories, and that we really are all in this together? If they even call someone who is alone and lonely and prove to them that one other person in the world cares, they have walked farther along the path of humanity than watching you or anyone else will ever lead them.