TIME Magazine announced their 2015 “Person of the Year” this morning on the Today show. Most of you know this is a long standing, annual announcement that creates buzz, and sometimes, controversy. This year’s winner, in case you missed it, is German Chancellor, Angela Merkel. Based on what I’ve read, which admittedly isn’t much, she seems decent and a reasonable choice.
The “shortlist” was more of an eyebrow raiser… and I am committed to keeping personal politics out of the HOPEspot. But for the purposes of making my point, let’s look at the nominees:
Abu Bakr Al- Baghdadi: Leader of ISIS. OK……
Black Lives Matter activists: Uh huh….
Caitlyn Jenner: that’s already been batted about…
Travis Kalanick: CEO of Uber.
Angela Merkel: winner winner chicken dinner.
Vladimir Putin: was TIME going to use the shirtless horseback riding photo as the cover?
Hassan Rouhani: President of Iran. I-R-A-N.
Donald Trump: the “You’re Fired” guy.
I won’t weigh in on the short list because clearly TIME has a different agenda than I would have for “Person of the Year”. And, despite what I may have demonstrated: I am not an idiot. I understand TIME is desperate, in this Internet world, to sell magazines. Sensational sells. If the nominations had been a week later, they may have nominated Tashfeen Malik, the San Bernandino ISIS shooter monster. TIME is looking for a “Person” that has made significant news. In my opinion, I am relieved that they seemed to choose one of the least evil of the news makers.
But people/ media seem to pay attention to the “Person of the Year” designation. So guess what? I am here to announce MY list of the HOPEspot “Persons of the Year”.
Here at the HOPEspot, we hold a few values deeply close to our hearts. Kindness. Humanity. Humor. Bravery. Courage. HOPE. With those values in mind, I would like to share my shortlist.
Let’s start nationally: How about the US Marines that thwarted the shooting on a Paris train and saved countless lives? They exemplified amazing courage and embodiment of HOPE as they ran towards danger and saved lives.
Locally, we had a state trooper who cared for three young children whose parents were killed in a one car crash on Halloween, as they went to get candy and more face paint. This trooper kept the children entertained through the night until their grandmother from Florida arrived - and the children will never associate Halloween with the night their parents died.
You know I am going to nominate First Responders, Nurses, EMTs, Firefighters. A special award of distinction for the anonymous nurse that laid upon our dear Emma after she was hit by a car and would not let her get up until help arrived.
Yes, Caitlyn Jenner is brave. She also has money for great plastic surgery and a platform of fame that allows her to tell her story beautifully. I would like to nominate the middle American, poverty stricken, family confused Caitlyns. True bravery often occurs in isolation and anonymously.
And, as an answer to the Black Lives Matter nominees from Time Magazine, I would like to nominate the police officers who respond to these uprisings. I am not going to debate whether all police officers are perfect, but what I will unconditionally salute is men and women who leave their own families and go to a place of violence and unrest in the interest of peace.
A very special, Honorable Mention nomination, to the caregivers among us. Elderly caring for their debilitated spouses. Working professionals trying to manage aging parents. Or young parents, whose hopes and dreams for a healthy child have been forever changed as they unfailingly care for their chronically or terminally ill child.
With this said I nominate my niece, Casey, her Mom, Dad, and sister. This year brought the surgery this family dreaded for 12 years and this troop handled it with class, grace and strength. You think that’s easy?
Since we are talking about children, some “Person of the Year” awards belong in and around this population. First, where oh where are the grand awards for the teachers? The ones who teach your baby to read, to love learning, to find pride in themselves, despite their challenges. And second, how about some awards for the kiddos? I’ve heard all the arguments about “everybody gets a trophy and that’s what is wrong with these kids”. I am not going there. The “Person of the Year” awards I want to give our kids are for the categories of being brave enough to get on the bus, showing kindness to the kid afraid of the bus, and not pooping their pants during the “intruder alert drills” that they have to endure in this day and age.
Kids could not win “Person of the Year” nominations without the parents that love them. I’m sorry TIME, I am SO less interested in the leader of ISIS than I am proud of the single Mom, working several jobs and staying up at night to keep up her children’s grades. Moms and Dads who show up, encourage and raise children deserve a slow hand clap every day. And how about the grieving parents, battling the journey alone? I have a friend, Becky, who lost her college sweetheart husband, Cam, to cancer. They were soulmates and they produced three wonderful children. Becky gets out of bed. Her children are well fed and socialized. Together, they’ve put together a family bereavement program. You can bet SHE has my vote for “Person of the Year.”
I could go on and on, but I will conclude with my most important, most special HOPEspot “Person of the Year”. Drumroll…
It’s you. Friends, if you are reading this, I may or may not know you. Regardless, I know this: you value HOPE. Each and every one of us battle demons and insecurities and daily challenges. The universal fact remains that if you get out of bed, love your family, share kindness, and maintain the grit to get through this day, whatever it brings, and the one after that, you are a Hero. And your heroism deserves to be rewarded. This world is a scary place, but each day you live, you are a survivor. A warrior. A battler. A friend. A family member. A caregiver. A HERO.
Congratulations, You’re the HOPEspot “Person of the Year.”