What Deserves our Emotional Attention?

written by LUKE November 5, 2016

“Make America Great Again,” and “Stronger Together” are the two campaign slogans of the US election dominating headlines this October. I’ve followed the election quite intently watching the primaries, the debates and reading up on the various policies of both parties. I’ve gone from posting scintillating pro Trump arguments to criticizing Hilary to criticizing Trump and then finally criticizing both Trump & Hilary. This morning I find myself feeling quite apathetic about the whole political situation. At this point I think either candidate is a poor choice & have concluded why waste my emotional attention on the subject. There’s also the fact that I as a Canadian citizen cannot vote and have no influence over the result.

So if I’m done ranting about Trump and complaining about Hilary what does deserve my emotional attention?

Well I have been considering this very question the past couple of days. It took a few election related posts and delving into a few fruitless chat room arguments to get there, but I did arrive at that very question. What issues/topics deserve my utmost and passionate emotional attention?

Well, my thoughts went to a few things:

  • My wife (&Marriage)
  • My studies (Job/Career would fit in this category)
  • My religion(Atheists & Agnostics included :))

These things are the center of my life and certainly deserve my passionate emotional attention. To be honest though these were answers that I expected myself to come up with and so I thought to myself what else deserves my attention and what is the next layer to my thoughts? For example it would be quite beneficial if I could develop a greater emotional attention towards my marriage (Jill would nod her head yes at this, come on guy be more emotional!) What if the next level of this thought was is there a purpose or aspiration that my Wife and I could be together passionate about?

The same principle can also apply to my career aspirations. I’m currently studying to become a mortgage broker and working on some online business. As I work towards dabbling into these new fields I’ve thought a lot about career and purpose. What if I could blend my passion to make money and work independently and creatively with my desire to better humanity and help others? What if there was a way to blend business and social good? Well many budding young millennial entrepreneurs are working towards this very blend of business and social enterprise and it certainly intrigues me to do the same. Just being passionate about studies, career and making money isn’t enough for me, I need the extra level and layer of passionate emotional purpose.

As I took the time to consider these thoughts my anger towards the current political situation slowly began to dissipate. I risked opening Facebook again (let me tell you its a risk these days, unless you’ve unfollowed everyone posting about politics) and stumbled upon a post that moved me.

The post is below and is from an old family friend named Harold Eberle. He is a pastor, international speaker and holds a Master in Divinity. His take on things is very interesting and is not the prototypical minister. I quite enjoy the freshness from which he approaches things and whether you totally agree with his perspective or not he is very well researched and open-minded. This is my opinion of course! But more than all those things, I admire that he and his wife care for the social good of humanity. This is his Facebook post.

Hi Everyone,
In Punjab, Pakistan, tens of thousands of slave children work in brickyards. There are about 20,000 brickyards in Pakistan, each with its own slave children who work 12 hours each day, 6 days per week. A friend, Pastor Stan Fleming, has been starting schools for the slave children to provide a literacy program for them on their off time. The program includes studies in English, Urdu (national language), Mathematics, Social Studies, Science and Bible. The slaves live in the brickyards so that is where the schools are located. There is a certified teacher at each school. Currently, the schools take students up to grade 5, but the plan is to continue their education up to grade 10. At this level, students can take a national test and if it is passed, the students can secure good paying jobs outside of the brickyards. Then they can pay off the brickyard owners and secure their freedom.
We have already helped Pastor Stan start three schools (about 40 students each), but I ask you to help us build more. Each school costs $7,600; that is, $4,000 to start with curriculum, furniture, clothes, etc.; plus $3,600 for one year’s maintenance (teacher’s salary and supplies).

Click on the link below to view slideshow:

When I read this post it shocked my system. For some reason this little Facebook post found a way past the hardened exterior layer of me and touched my heart. In a way we are exposed to more need than any other generation in history. We have access to the entire world and with the click of a button we are exposed to need all around us:

  • We can watch a Netflix documentary about some poor suffering tribe.
  • We can visit a local church and be asked to give our money to a youth group missions trip or a women’s shelter,
  • We open up Facebook to enjoy a little scrolling and come across a non-profit fundraiser raising money for some cause that we don’t care about,
  • We can open up our Instagram and find thousands of little non-profits all doing good stuff, all of which need money to make some kind of an impact.

As we are exposed to more and more of these needs many of us become hardened to the needs and causes around us.

Perhaps we are tired of these people asking for our hard-earned money.

Perhaps we don’t think we can really help the situation that much.

Perhaps we honestly just don’t care about helping anyone else.

Whatever the reason, we are exposed to a lot of need and many of us become hardened and focus our emotional attention towards our life and our own problems. I know that’s what has happened to me. I spent a good chunk of my 20’s volunteering to help others; it lead me to live in the United States and travel to Africa, South America and the Middle East as I tried to find purpose and make some kind of a difference in the world. I look back now fondly and remember the good times but I also wonder how much of a difference I really made and if the money that I gave and the time that I spent was worth it. As of today I haven’t honestly fully found that answer for myself.

Looking back now, I can recognize that I burnt out, I got tired of helping other people and organizations. It became principal for me and didn’t come from the genuine passion of my soul. As my 20s closed I started taking classes to gain perspective and focused on finding my passions, developing a career and looking for a way to make a better income. I spent less time helping others and more time reflecting, researching and working on myself. This time has had many positive benefits but it has also caused me to become more callused.  I must confess that I walk by homeless people almost every day and I don’t feel sorry for them. I read posts from people asking for money to fund trips and I really don’t consider giving to these people. I hear about walking for cancer or walking for change and I don’t feel drawn to join in. Now I’m not writing this so that you will think I’m a jerk(if you do that’s OK I wont hold it against you) but I just want to be honest about my personal journey. This is where I have been at, somewhat calloused and just doing my best at my current state to do this life well. So when I read this post and started to tear up I was really surprised with myself; I instantly had to read more about these Pakistani children working in brickyards. What I found out broke my heart.

I’m not writing this post to make anyone feel guilty. I’ve not written this post secretly scheming about how to get a bunch of people to donate money or anything at all like that. If you want to give to support some of these kids and help the cause feel free to shoot me an email and I can tell you how you can do so. I do think its an incredible cause, however that was not my purpose for writing. To be clear I’m also not asking you to stop caring about the US election, it’s a very important moment for the world and being educated on the subject is important.

I have exposed my thoughts here simply to share where ive been at. I’ve realized that getting too worked up over something I can’t control like the election hasn’t been a good outlet for my emotional attention. I’ve found out that I can be moved to action and more importantly for me that it is possible to be organically moved by a cause and to want to put my emotional energy towards helping someone and bettering humanity.

If that’s not you and you just really don’t care that’s fine, I might be in the minority but I think its great! Own honestly who you are and where you’re at and just be you. Life is full of surprises and I believe that one day you’ll stumble across a post, watch a commercial, meet a stranger or have a random conversation that will sneak past that rough exterior and stir up your soul.

I know because my soul got touched again,

I plan to put some of my emotional affection towards doing something for these kids in Pakistan,

and to be honest, I didn’t know if I my soul could be stirred emotionally again like this.

If it can happen to me again it can happen to you too.

If after reading all this you could care less about my thoughts and want to make a cause for me hypothetically voting Trump or Hilary you are most welcome to leave a thoughtful explanation for why you support either candidate below. I don’t want to hear about Hilary’s emails or lies and I don’t want to hear about Trump’s offensive comments, I’ve heard all those things a million times and I’m quite sick of hearing these reasons. Talk to me about policies, do a little research beyond what the media tells you.

If you read this and felt moved by what I shared please share why and engage discussion below! Any feedback at all is encouraged even critical feedback!

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