It’s just a small job. I’m not over-estimating my abilities. Rather I am just taking Gandhi’s words to heart:
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
If I want change, I have to start with me. Gandhi also says:
“Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
I like that. He puts it into perspective. Of course I can’t change the world all by myself. But I can make a start in my corner, and hope it catches on.
When I start talking of wanting to change the world, I often get told things like
“don’t watch/read that stuff. It’s too upsetting”
“one person can’t make a difference”
“you’re too soft”
“you’ll drive yourself crazy trying to change what can’t be changed”
Actually those thoughts are what drive me crazy and get me upset. Because I can make a difference and I refuse to believe that inserting some compassion and kindness into this world is beyond each one of us. What’s more, how do you tell the victims of our dis-compassionate world that it’s just too big to fix?
Where does my passion for changing the world come from? Simply having my eyes and ears open. It is heartbreaking to see and hear what we do to fellow humans, and other creatures. I could just choose not to watch/read but I don’t think that’s the answer. I feel uncomfortable and sometimes distressed by what I see and read, but that is minimal to what the victims experience. Sometimes a little uncomfortable is a good thing, even though it might not feel so great at the time.
Last night I watched a documentary about African elephants and their demise because of ivory poaching. They had set up an elephant orphanage for those young who had tragically been left without parents. They keep the elephants in the orphanage until they’re old enough to fend for themselves. But what will happen when they are released, and the poachers are still operating? In the documentary the experts predicted that in 20 years there will be no elephants left on this planet. I’m guessing that applies to Asian elephants too. Do we want a world with no elephants? I don’t.
Last week I read of an eleven year old who committed suicide, as a result of bullying. Eleven! I have a ten-year old nephew so that’s pretty close in ages. It makes me stop and think, what if it were my family? Eleven year old’s are still children. They shouldn’t have to even know about the dark side of our world, let alone be choosing to opt out of it. How does a family recover from that? How do her friends recover from that?
And as I have been writing I see an update has come in on a story I read a few weeks ago. Suicide baiting. I admit I had no idea that such a thing existed (beyond the movies maybe) until I read an account of a mother whose son committed suicide in 2010, while about 1000 people watched, and some egged him on. How do you live with that if you’re the mother? A judge has just ruled that no one was culpable. That must be a very hard one to live with, now that her son is gone.
And one last one I read of this morning. A two year old boy being physically abused by a stranger because he was wearing a pink headband. Pink was his favourite colour. He was two. And a stranger took it upon himself to ‘correct’ the way he expresses himself. Apparently the two year old would thank him later in life for putting him on the ‘right road’.
My philosophy has always been to treat people as I would want them to treat me. It’s not complicated. I just ask myself, what would I want? Maybe I can’t make up for all the hatred in the world, but even my ‘insignificant part’ (as Gandhi puts it) makes a difference to someone. Yes, I’m going to feel uncomfortable and would rather not see this stuff, but I’m not prepared to turn my back on the need for compassion in our world.
Yes, I want to change the world. And why not, when I don’t like what I see?
“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”
― Mother Teresa
- Suicide baiting — they cheered while my son jumped (ipinionsyndicate.com)
- Judge’s stand on suicide baiting: Let them jump (ipinionsyndicate.com)
- What Happened When My Son Wore A Pink Headband To Walmart (huffingtonpost.com)
- Even When Your Voice Shakes (infinitesadnessorhope.wordpress.com)