I’m upset with The World.
I’ve been upset with the world since the middle of 2016. Yes, this does stem from the whole Brexit/Trump drama but this is NOT about politics. I understand that change is unfolding as a result of established democratic processes. And I also understand that people in positions of enormous power have difficult decisions to make and that there will always be a group of people somewhere, that disagree with them. This is not about any of the complex issues related to either of those two events, it’s much more basic, it’s a reflection on the pre-event build-up and the post-event fallout, this is about humanity.
For me, the last 6 months have been a seemingly never-ending showcase of everything that’s bad about the human race.
“The open promotion of intolerance, racism and sexism has made me feel sick”.
In democratic societies, everyone (of a certain age) is entitled to vote, they are entitled to an opinion and debate is healthy, but, this culture of brutally attacking people over social media whilst hiding behind a computer screen is abhorrent.
The media have so much to answer for, flooding all channels with dangerous & divisive headlines that will sell a paper or get a click. These messages then land directly into the hands of young people, in their Facebook feeds.
When did this all suddenly become ok? It’s 2017, not 1940.
What is Humanity anyway?
Towards the end of 2016 I really struggled to get past how utterly depressing all of this was, it made me fear for my childrens’ future. The fact that basic human kindness seems to have been forgotten?
I am just one person, what can I possibly do?
I am one small person, but I am also a parent and this is an important factor because it means I’m now going to go all Lioness on you, because, THIS SITUATION IS NOT OK.
I cannot stop words coming out of the mouth of people like Donald Trump or it being broadcast across the world but I can arm my children with the best defence possible, which is knowledge & education. I will simply not allow them to believe that it’s ok to act like this towards other human beings.
As a lioness, a parent, an uncle, an aunt, a guardian or an educator…
We can help our young people to understand and value:
The importance of telling the truth.
How to get your point across intelligently.
The art of disagreeing gracefully.
And we can make sure that they know:
It’s OK to be competitive.
It’s OK to have an opinion.
It’s OK to disagree with people.
It’s even OK, on occasion, to fight back. But remind them, it often takes more courage to walk away.
And, that they simply will not get on with everyone they meet, which is OK too.
But we can also help them to understand that:
It’s NOT OK to disrespect someone because of the colour of their skin.
It’s NOT OK to abuse someone because of their race or gender.
It’s NOT OK to make assumptions about someone because of a God you think they might believe in.
It’s NOT OK to dislike someone purely because their appearance doesn’t fit with your own idea of ‘image’.
And, that anonymously abusing people online is an act of pure cowardice.
The majority will probably be nodding along with me? This is common sense, right? And you’re probably annoyed I bothered saying it? This is just ‘bringing your child up as a decent human being’, isn’t it? But I did want to vocalise this as I feel so passionate about it. Most of us can only realistically impact our own little corner of the world, but let’s do it and do it well.
Kindness costs nothing.
I can hear the voices –
“Yeah Michelle, let’s all just be really nice to each other. That’ll fix everything!”
Well no, it won’t and I’m not perfect, but, I feel like it’s OK to openly encourage kindness. And I also feel like it’s OK to suggest that we could all probably do more in this area to enhance our own lives and the lives of others. Kindness costs us nothing after all!
I, of course, know there is so much good in the world, despite what I’ve said and it’s also full of truly wonderful people. So let’s end on a high here.
This is David Tennant, (who I adore), from last week’s Last Leg on Channel 4, telling us, in a reassuring voice, that:
“Everything will be OK”.
“But it’s up to us to make it ok and just generally try not to be dicks.
So perfectly and eloquently put.
Here’s to 2017. The year of humanity and kindness.