In a World Riddled With Rob Reiners, Be a Rodney Smith

In this photo taken Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016 in Huntsville, Ala., Rodney Smith Jr., founder of Raising Men Lawn Care Service, looks skyward while talking with homeowner Irene Renee Jolly, 77. Founded last year, Smith's group is providing free lawn care for about 100 yards a month. His goal is to help the elderly, disabled, single mothers and veterans. Young people also participate and learn about the importance of volunteering. (AP Photo/Jay Reeves)

 

On my podcast,  Just Listen to Yourself, I talk a lot about easing the angst of political disagreements by focusing on doing instead of talking. My latest episode is especially relevant. I get so many questions from despondent listeners who are distraught over political discussions turning personal and nasty. They want to know how they can talk politics with their ideological opponents without descending into accusations. They want to know how they make the people they’re talking to see facts and reason when those people seem so committed to emotionalism or party.

We all want to know that, and if I had a magic wand that would instantly turn everyone into open-minded, kind discussion partners I’d surely lend it to you.

Unfortunately, such a thing does not exist at the moment. The only magic you have is yourself.

On our latest episode, I talk a lot about how we can’t change other people, we can only change how we react to them. Sometimes you can’t talk to people at all. Sometimes you must bear their unreasonable judgments of your character and let your life speak for itself. Stop trying to educate people and start focusing on serving people.

I can think of no better example of how we cross these seemingly unbridgeable divides than Mr. Rodney Smith, Jr. Smith is the founder of Raising Men Lawn Care Service, now Raising Men and Women Lawn Care Service.

The Alabama resident began his mission humbly. He saw a need in his neighborhood for the elderly and disabled to be cared for, and for young men to be taught the value of hard work, charity, and honor. He put those needs together and out came Raising Men. This is an incredible program and if you feel moved to give, please do so.

Smith has since expanded his mission to young women, as well, and now travels across the country to deliver mowers and connect eager young people to their communities in need.

It’s a stark contrast to the screeching celebrity class that assaults social media daily with their political hysteria while resting in their ivory towers. Rob Reiner is one of the most talented artists in a generation, but you’d never know it to look at his Twitter timeline. One can almost see the spittle flying from his mouth. He has no kind words for his fellow Americans. Like others in his social class, he has only judgment and vitriol for the unwashed masses. His only communicated point of view is that every American who isn’t like him is evil.

I tell people, including my podcast listeners, that the quickest and most effective way to ease your fears or feelings of ill-will towards your fellow citizens is to serve your neighbors. Serving someone is the best way to find their humanity. Service might look like buying groceries, helping an elderly neighbor get to the pharmacy, or simply a cup of coffee and a chat in the afternoon. It doesn’t need to be huge or Instagram-worthy. The point isn’t to feel good about yourself. The point is to be a neighbor, not an enemy.

I have no idea what Smith’s politics are, and I couldn’t care less. Neither should you. Neither should guys like Rob Reiner. Smith is the perfect example of what happens when you stop judging people by votes and instead just start asking people what they need…and then provide that for them. Whatever Smith’s personal beliefs are, they will be judged through the filter of his actions.

Sometimes, the way we live our lives is the single greatest argument for what we believe. Good or bad. Guys like Reiner scream into the wind. They have convinced themselves that their hate is love, and that their rage is a call to action.

To see what meaningful action really looks like, look no further than Rodney Smith, Jr.

This past week, Smith was gifted a new Ford Edge from the Ford Company in Michigan. I’ve never seen him asking for anything except the occasional donation to assist with buying mowers for his young entrepreneurs. To see his generosity rewarded gives me such hope for this nation. Thank you to Ford for honoring this great American.

Despite what we see when we open social media, or when we tune into the late-night talk shows, this country is not filled with hatred. Hate lives here in dark corners…corners that the corporate media keeps trying to tell us represent our entire country. They do not. Rodney Smith, Jr. represents us. He is the American Dream and spirit personified. Who is Rob Reiner convincing to change their lives or preconceived notions when he’s shouting into his keyboard? He is preaching to the angry choir.

Smith is serving the choir.

In a world riddled with Rob Reiners, be a Rodney Smith.