Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Scene: Shopping in some random mall in Utah.

Year: 2002ish

Ryan (Uncle...really more like a cousin. Only 3 years older than me.):

"Do you think in the next life we're going to be held accountable for that fact that we are fully aware that there are literally people starving in the world at this present moment and we are shopping for useless luxuries?"

Me (bothered, eyes rolling, frustrated that he's just taken an ignorantly blissful shopping trip past the point of no accountability return):

"Why do you have to do that? Why?!!! Ruin a perfectly good shopping trip with some ridiculously meaningful question like that?!"

P.A.D.T.!!! P.A.D.T.!!! P.A.D.T.!!!!

People Against Deep Thoughts.
It's got a nice ring to it, doesn't it?

Ryan and I formed this club around the same time. Whenever we would veer into the realm of never-ending topics like politics, religion, homosexuality, why good food makes you fat, science, healthcare, philosophy, and uni-brows - somebody, after hours and hours of migraine inducing thought had to pull us out of the funk. One of us would inevitably sense the bottomless pit of contemplation coming on, and politely shout: "P.A.D.T.!!"

"Oh, sorry! I almost forgot. Let's go watch Saved By the Bell re-runs and binge on Oreos."


There. Problem solved.*
(*Aside from the slight detour Ryan eventually took becoming a volunteer in third world countries and creatingthe non-for-profit organization Green Eyes in Africa - click here and student Emmy award winning documentaries. Needless to say, he was impeached as President of P.A.D.T. for a time.)

As I get older, I am increasingly feeling the urge to retreat into the P.A.D.T. clubhouse. Maybe it's because as I get older I also feel an increasing sense of duty to start paying attention and would like to avoid it. And yet as I look at my children and have to carve my own way in the now very merciless world, the pressure to grow up urges on. The pressure to graduate P.A.D.T. To move out of the old "parent's house" of irresponsibility and ignorance when it comes to all things political, financial, moral, educational, etc, etc. Don't get me wrong, I pay attention when it directly impacts me....but beyond that I can't honestly say I lose any sleep at night for anyone else. Ryan's original thought while shopping in the mall does begin to beg the question, "Isn't it time to start giving a hang?"

I've been on a mini quest of sorts. To start getting involved. Maybe volunteer. Pay attention and read. Understand not only national, but local political processes so I can make informed decisions. Maybe hold a protest of some sort on the steps of the Capitol (not sure what for yet). Stop acting like it is uncool or beneath me to care more about family values than what is happening in People magazine. Quit asking my Dad for information about America and read it myself. Stand up for what is good, and right. ( I even pathetically had to ask my Dad last night to rehash the different branches of government, from Federal to State. It's that sad. I didn't really know for sure. And don't lie, you probably don't either. I'm going to guess that 85% of my readers and Americans don't. And yes, this is sad, people.)

I watched a short documentary a while back on George Romney (influential politician and businessman, father of recent Presidential candidate Mitt Romney). He was a respected leader and successful in about every aspect of his life: family, business, politics...you name it. But he believed most strongly in volunteerism. On the idea that communities could solve their own problems. If everyone would pitch in just a little, there would be no need for big bailouts, huge government programs, etc. etc. Later, Mitt Romney's campaign also presented the truthful reality that America will only be as strong as its families (Boy, I wish he could have won. Sigh).

Today, so many are nervous about the economy and the direction of America's future. I have more complaints and frustrations than I'd care to list. But, at the end of the day....what have I done? Where have I helped?
If I don't help, if I don't do, then I shouldn't complain. I'm already working on the strong family thing, but there is so much more.

P.A.D.T. must be shelved for the time being, it's time to get involved.

Now I've even blogged about it. It's once again past the point of no accountability return.

I think I might go to the big Tea-Party tomorrow.


Whitney said...

Rachel, I really dont know much about pretty much what you just said but one thing that really struck me is what you said about Mitt Romney believes on the idea that communities could solve their own problems if everyone could pitch in a little. How true is that. I've never thought about it that way and know I cant help but think of the song Have I done any good in the world today? I need to do more, everyone can do just a little more. Thinking back to when I did my young womens project, one was collect toiletry (or whatever) items for the troops, it only was a week long of my time and I really feel like I made a big difference, I had company's call me wanting to donate and it was nothing. Man I feel like I have just been lifted up! Thanks Rachel! Sorry that was so long :)

Amy said...

Rae- Actually the theory of communities hashing out their own problems has been around for awhile. It's a prevalent concept in health education, one I'm actually using in my Master's thesis. "Community Capacity Building." It's a good idea.


jenniferoharra said...

Hey Rachel-I'm right there with you on not wanting to worry about complicated things in life. Its so much easier to watch Friends than it is to do taxes and worry about all the things in life that seem to just get harder as we get older. But you're right, we do need to pay more attention and take an active interest in things.

Amy said...

Okay I am worried that you are getting me and the other Amy mixed up. Here's a difference that may help: I'm not currently working on a master's thesis. I AM currently watching American Idol, which I assume is a perfect activity for a PADT member, which I think I half became one day in high school.
ANYWAY! Our interests are dove tailing as I just went to a volunteer orientaion today for a tutoring center. YAY! go us!

Shinae said...

O.M.G. PADT! Loved that club.
I'll carry on now that you and Ryan are bailing.

Did you get my email? Why are you ignoring me?