“It’s the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there’ll be any fruit. But that doesn’t mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.” ~ Mahatma Ghandi
I think it’s safe to say that there has been a lot going on in the world over the last few weeks… a devastating earthquake hit Nepal leaving many people dead, injured, and without basic necessities. There have also been a number of protests popping up around the United States. I am not one who follows the news on a consistent basis, honestly, because it terrifies me. However, these protests, and the stories of people who are protesting, have impacted me a lot lately. I’ve also been left with a lot of questions about the world… Why don’t people really listen to each other more? Why are we more consumed by attention-seeking reporters, than by the real message that people are trying to get out? Why aren’t more things being done to bring justice, fairness and equality to light? Maybe these are simplistic questions… but why aren’t they being done? Not just for us now… but for the future generations to come?
It really bothers me to see grown adults fighting, and acting in ways that they would never allow their children to act. Why hold only the young to such standards of being a “good human being” when adults are not doing the same? I’ve had a few conversations with friends lately about how the protests and injustices affect children. As a mother and early childhood educator, there really isn’t a single day that goes by when I don’t talk with children about how important it is to treat others with kindness.
I keep thinking of conversations that I have had with young children… typically I might say something like :
“Let’s listen to your friend, then when they’re done they will listen to you.”
“It’s ok to have a different idea than your friend. Maybe you will learn something new.”
“It’s ok to be upset, but your words must be kind.”
“Use your words to explain, not your body to hurt others.”
“Help others.” And the list goes on…
I wish politicians and political leaders could be reminded of these simple words. Why do we even bother to teach children how to treat others fairly and with respect? Do people actually think it is OKAY to forget these BASIC and SIMPLE lessons that we are taught as children? In fact, maybe we just need to go back to the basics…
I think most adults (myself included) need to seriously PAUSE for a minute and take a good look at themselves and the situation of the world right now. It’s nobody else’s responsibility than OUR OWN to make a change. If we keep sitting around, waiting for someone else to do something, or say something… well, we may never see much change. I do ask one thing though: Get some perspective. Try not to react or speak out from anger. Speak from experience… knowledge… wisdom. Use your words to reach out and do some good. You know why? Because the next generation is watching. They are watching how you speak, act, treat strangers on the street, how you yell at someone crossing the road, how you open the door and smile for your grandmother. Children are always watching. They are sponges, soaking everything up.
Do we want the next generation, and the one after that to talk the talk, or walk the walk? It can be scary to think of what the world will be like for our children as they grow to become adults… but we need to prepare them. Let’s prepare them with KINDNESS. Let’s prepare them with PATIENCE. Let’s prepare them with RESPECT. Let’s prepare them with TOLERANCE. We need to pave the way for a better world. A more understanding world. Not one where we just sit around and say “oh, I wish the world was different.” We need to strive every day to be kind, and show acts of kindness to others (and ourselves).
Let’s show children a world where we actually listen to someone, even if they have a different view than us. A world where we offer to help someone in the street because, despite the reason they are on the street, they still deserve respect. Let’s invite the opportunity for children to experience what it feels like when you do something kind for someone else, without any recognition. That feeling is irreplaceable. It fills your heart.
We don’t have to be political leaders or have some super power to change the world… all it takes is 1 simple act of kindness. A smile. Saying Thank You. Leaving a great tip while out to eat. A friendly Hello walking down the street. Helping a hurt animal. If your heart-felt intention is to help, or do something kind for others, then you are already a super hero.
A great children’s book to introduce diversity is called Shades of People, written by Shelley Rotner and Sheila M. Kelly.