How can we change the world? This is the best I can do ….
In the last one hundred years we have experienced a staggering rush of evolution. Computers, cars, cell phones, air travel….it’s so magnanimous and almost impossible to digest just how fast one thing led to another to bring us where we are today. My child will have no grasp of a VCR, a walkman, and, unfortunately, he will carry no knowledge of Charles in Charge or a Pogo Ball into his adult life. We (and by ‘we’ I mean the Inventors of Things) have learned from each trial and error, each cell phone, cassette tape, paper plane - they have all catapulted us into the Next Wave of Must Haves. The Better, Bigger, Next.
With everything constantly moving forward so fast I wonder why mentally we just can’t seem to catch up. We haven’t learned from our mistakes. We don’t draw on the trials of history to make our decisions today. Sure, we use car seats more, we don’t smoke while we are pregnant (or at least we know we shouldn’t), but I mean emotionally. Mentally.
Think of how our youth has evolved. Long ago it was sneaking a serious session of hand holding at a sock hop, to getting pregnant at fifteen. It once was temper tantrums or a mean bitch session with our friends and now it is cutting and school shootings. How is it that our youth has fallen so backward? It can’t be their fault - they are kids for crying out loud! It HAS to be us, their environment, our ever-growing lack of patience, or are the screens stuck to our eyes and ears taking precedence over truly knowing our children? Are these same screens allowing bullies the means to hide while they traumatize their peers?
Look at how we attempt to change the world. We 'like and share’ in hopes that it will have a positive result. Tell me, when you did the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, did you look up what it is? How many people that you personally know ACTUALLY donated to the cause? Occupy Wall Street, Sit-ins, Protests, so few in history have ACCOMPLISHED, so few have reached their goal, yet we try and try until we are starving and out of poster paper … these means of expression all show the world that we want change, that we are willing to go through personal trials to get there, but how much CHANGE are we actually making?
Somewhere down the line, knowledge became fear, and we freak out at plastic in the dishwasher and kids who would rather giggle at fart jokes instead of sit quietly. We rush to discover the next 'negative’ thing in our life so we can have something to discuss online. We are addicted to finding out what NOT to do. We are addicted to hiding behind a keyboard while judging others for what THEY do. We can’t get enough of epidemics, fear, and judgement … but how do we as individuals retain the right to 'occupy’ or 'protest’ anything? Have we perfected ourselves as people so much that we can cast judgement?
What if we collectively decided to change the one thing in this world we have control over? What if right now, as you read this, you decide that you will not use the internet unless you are using it specifically for the following reasons: to learn, to teach, to love, to laugh. What if we force our children to do the same? No more bullying by social media - they can’t hurt from what they can’t read, right?
What if right now you decide that you will never post anything without substance again (after all who really gives a shit that you are making dinner or on your way to the mall?). What if you promise to never judge anyone online ever again? And what if, you decide that you will limit your own internet time to one hour per day? What if you promise that if your husband, wife, or children are home you will NOT have a device stuck in your face? Instead you will focus on the people in front of you, the ones who love you the most, what if you speak directly to them, learn about them, adore them?
If someone ignorantly discriminates against gay people, ethnic people, okay, just discriminates period, it is impossible to change their minds through facebook or twitter. Sure, you can shame them into HIDING their discrimination from ever peering online judgement, but you won’t change them. Shouting at them while holding signs only creates mass hysteria and mob mentality…so how do you change people ? How do you stop the discrimination? Here’s a thought: you don’t. Instead, you choose to love everyone, no matter their race, religion or sexuality. Make that mental decision to raise your children in a stereotype/discriminatory free world. Sure, they will encounter haters, they will encounter negativity, but not from who they trust and love. Not from whom they were given their beliefs. If everyone right now decided 'My world will NOT contain negativity or judgement. I understand that everyone has a story, and that everyone is equal, regardless of status, race, sexuality or religion, and I will ONLY associate myself with those who agree’ then BAM. This world, yours and mine, will become the fucking Catalina Wine Mixer, my friends.
By changing your world, changing yourself, changing your habits you will create a small difference, but a difference none the less. If your neighbours, co-workers and friends do the same, then your small difference just grew into a bigger difference.
And that Wine Mixer draws closer…..
Am I wrong in saying that if you focus on people instead of screens, if you use the internet only for good, you will find the time to love life, family, and yourself a little more?
So how do you change the world? You change yours, step by step, and eventually your change will meet mine. And mentally, just maybe, we can catch up with Science, Inventions, and focus on a world that exists beyond the phones, the TVs, the screens, and the Ipads, our kids can become calmer, less confused versions of themselves, and the discriminators won’t get the attention they crave, and 'family game night’ will no longer be history…..
Don’t 'like’ and 'share’ a post about helping the homeless - bring them your leftovers! Don’t cast judgement on a smoking pregnant woman, help her quit! Don’t 'share’ a terrible story of an animal being beaten, adopt a rescue from your local shelter! HELPING OTHERS is a grade one lesson. You don’t have to have money to make someone’s day.
In this case, welcome the repetition of history, let your life become simple like it was so long ago. Full of long talks that last late into the night, full of mastering the guitar, learning to sing, growing your own food - whatever! Full of actually listening to your kids instead of hearing them.
If we all, from politicians to garbagemen, decide to change ourselves, then together, like magic, we change the world.
Shit, I have a lot of work to do. Today, I will start with me.
How do you change the world?
How can we change the world? This is the best I can do ….