I saw a common thread running through several events the past couple of days.

We went from one extreme of people protesting the verdict of the George Zimmerman trial to spending time with a 4 year old.

In between those events my wife and I listened to an impactful message from one of our pastors on Saturday afternoon.

Let’s start with the George Zimmerman trial and verdict, beginning with the initial outcome of the incident.  A young man was shot and killed.  The man who shot him saved his own life, but his life along with all of those around him and the family of Trayvon Martin are changed forever. Absolutely  nothing can take back the tragedies of that night.

As I read the headlines on Sunday morning, I see reports of protests and violence around the country, like this from the Daily Mail, a British based news site  :

‘The system has failed’: Hundreds demonstrators voice their disappointment and anger over not guilty verdict in George Zimmerman trail

  • Demonstrators in cities across the country took to the streets to protest the not guilty verdict in the Trayvon Martin murder trail
  • After George Zimmerman was acquitted of murder protesters outside of the Florida courthouse chanted their disappointment with the court’s verdict and justice system at large
  • Hundreds of people took to social media to express their outrage over the verdict and many warned of revenge attacks against Zimmerman
  • Hundreds marched in cities across the country with the vast majority of protests remaining peaceful
  • Some violence broke out in Oakland where crowds smashed windows and started small fires

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2362829/George-Zimmerman-verdict-Hundreds-voice-disappointment-Trayvon-Martin-case.html#ixzz2Z1W18FYO 

This is one kind of impact, but in my opinion, it is a fabricated and hyped by our 24/7 news media which turned a local tragic event into a national racial event.  You can do your own research and discover how NBC & others edited video & sound bites to color our perspective.

I seriously doubt that any positive outcome will occur due to this.  Yes, you have the right to protest and demand justice whenever you see injustice, but to participate in more violence as mentioned above… no, that is not having a positive impact.

My weekend began when I arrived home Friday and my wife had one of her 3 grandsons spending the night with us.  Ashton is going to be 5 years old in a couple of months.  After grabbing a bite out, we stopped at nearby Lions Park and played. The next day Kathy took Ashton to the 3 Rivers Festival Parade and later in the day, I was teaching Ashton about sewer pipes and water pipes. Anything is fair game.

Afterwards we did our usual Saturday evening trip to church where the message was based on the familiar story of the Good Samaritan. As our pastor was mentioning, when you’ve heard the story over and over again for 20 to 40 years, it can be a challenge to come up with a fresh message.  But hang on a second, because the words and stories he shared tied into the thread of making an impact that I’ve been experiencing this week.

His message was about taking responsibility.  Stepping up and doing what needs to be done, simply because it needs someone to do it.

I saw the impact my wife and I had on Ashton and in return, he makes an impact on our lives too. It’s a positive impact. The whole George Zimmerman trial and the aftermath is having a negative impact.

The 24 hours that my wife had with Ashton is being repeated in various forms by parents, grandparents and non-family members every day.  This impact can produce more lasting positive changes, than the type of impact that the Zimmerman trial is likely to produce.

In between these two examples is a choice each of us make about what kind of impact we make on others around us.  Are you taking responsibility to have a positive impact on others?