Today’s article is to make us all think a little bit. Think and create some REAL and RATIONAL dialogue about the disease that either a loved one is living with or an individual is dealing with on a daily basis. I was speaking to someone who said that the answer we seek/need is for a celebrity to step forward and talk about their life with diabetes and the world will finally come to realize what those with T1 diabetes live with every day.
When one of (argumentatively, I agree) the top 3 woman EVER to be on television has T1 (Mary Tyler Moore) who is as passionate and outspoken as anyone has ever been; a list of NFL players, MLB Players, and Olympians; add to that mix celebrities in the music industry and television having both T1 and T2; and all having been fairly open about it; you tell me what all of that attention has accomplished?
See I think the debate will go on forever. After 22+ years at this, I can tell you that nothing is going to change unless our approach is different. I’m not EXACTLY sure what the answer is but one person highlighted in the news, as someone known by all, will not all of a sudden make T1 known to the masses. Or them shining a light on differences between T1 and T2 will all of a sudden adhere to the general populous’ mindset. An A+ celebrity having T2 coming forward and trying to let the world know the difference is not going to all of a sudden educate the world and it won’t be a misunderstood problem anymore…..it’s just not going to happen that way.
I love receiving an email from a friend, when someone is in the news with diabetes, “Tom, you have to get that person.”
“Get.” Get? What does that even mean?
No ONE person is going to solve any problem. Ever. From the outside, looking in, people do not necessarily see a community of unity and strength as we would like believe. They see a group of people who are ready to attack when someone gets it wrong. I was one of those people. I tore into Paula Deen like there was no tomorrow when her whole ‘diabetes world’ controversy occurred. But after that, I changed. Because I took a step back and hated the way I reacted. I watched it all unfold and in the end………………….it changed…………nothing…………………..of substance.
We constantly tear down when building-up will accomplish so much more. We do it with one type of research over another, we do it with how we manage which differs from others, we do it with people who do something we don’t agree with; we do it when the media gets it wrong. But in all of these instances……..what do WE AS A COMMUNITY actually do to change the parameters?
I have seen this community come together like no other. Strip Safely, Reegan’s Rule, a ton of fund-raising initiatives for a wide arrangement of organizations. When we give we give like no other. Time, money, and energy with no limits. When we come together, we come together like no other.
My point. When we come together in a responsible mode and not with pitch-forks and torches in hand; we do have the power to change whatever it is that needs changing. I do not say this as a critique of this community but as someone who surely has been in the crowd holding those pitch-forks and torches.
I laid mine down.
Because when I ranted over a Paula Deen, or a media source getting T1 wrong, or a movie who grossly missed the point; I did nothing more than just rant……..and ‘SHAME ON ME’ is what I learned. Because when the ranting is over, if I have done nothing to change what upsets me, I have done nothing at all. The pen is surely mightier than any sword. And actions are surely more powerful than any spoken words.
So if you have issue with something, ranting for ranting’s sake is so much less productive than saying, “This needs to be changed and I’m going to do something about it.” And going forward.
Not for the ‘likes’ on FB, or for people saying how wonderful we are, not for any other reason but because it will actually change the world……..no matter how big that world is. I have a friend of mine, Marie, who presented an education program in her school district recently. When I hung up the phone with her, after she shared what she did, I cried. I cried because it meant so much to my heart that an entire school building was educated about diabetes. No fanfare. No accolades. Just diabetes education. And here is the thing, she does it every year. Here is another thing, there are a lot of Maries in our world.
Words without actions are dead. So if you are the ‘action-type’, I say thank you. The world will not change on its axis because of ONE thing, one event, one person. But many things of varying degrees and sizes will make a difference.
I am a diabetes dad.
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