July 29, 2009

Human after all

"Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive."
-- Dalai Lama

This morning, while listening to the TTBOOK podcast from last week on Travel, I learned about Playing For Change. It's a really amazing project where musicians from around the world play songs together for peace. The message is: we are all humans. So I pulled up the videos on YouTube for the kids to watch with me.

The girls wandered off after we'd seen them all. Robotson asked me if there were any new posts at The Big Picture. The latest was this set from Israel, Tanzania, and Malaysia. I worry sometimes about introducing the issues from this blog. There is both a positive and a negative to how these photos make it all so real. As we were talking about the bride from Israel, I tried to explain about the war over Golan Heights. He asked why they can't just split the area in half and stop fighting? I tried to explain the history of the area, but it's really too much for him to understand. Even harder for him was the story about albinos in Tanzania being murdered for luck potions. We talked about how much better both of these situations would be if everyone involved just understood that we are all humans.

I was able to tie the message into something a little closer to home after our play group today. We pulled into the neighborhood and the boys down the street, that had previously given Robotson a hard time, were out on their bikes. They saw the van and began to ride down toward our house as we pulled into the driveway. They didn't say anything, but sneered (yes, really) and slowly circled in the street. I never would have imagined they would do such a thing when an adult was present. Robotson was pretty upset, so I decided to drive a little more, and we could talk about it. In my head, I was a little shocked by the boys' boldness. With Robotson, I put the focus on our shared humanity, and asked him to try to remember that they are people just like us. They love, and hurt; just like us. We shouldn't throw out our principles just because there seem to be some differences. When we got back home, the boys were gone and Robotson went in the house. I was getting the girls out of the van when they rode down again, slowly circled, and rode away again.

Photo from: Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0



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4 comments:

  1. (...) He asked why they can't just split the area in half and stop fighting? I tried to explain the history of the area, but it's really too much for him to understand.

    There is no need to explain the historical events to explain the cause of war. The cause of all the war, murder, rape, misery and malice in the world are instincts.

    It doesn't matter whether *you* believe in this or not, but it behoves you to teach your children about instincts too .. and let them think on their own .. without imposing your beliefs.

    I say this .. because in your blog, you praise love and compassion. This is your belief .. a spiritual belief at that (so much for a freethinker, eh?). A genuine freethinker would let their children think through the cause of all this misery by /not/ imposing their moralistic coping-around mechanisms (such as love and compassion)

    Please go through http://actualfreedom.com.au/ to get some ideas (outside of humanity-conditioned ideas).

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  2. I think I understand what you are saying about instincts. It's been eye-opening to me to see how much of my feelings toward others was probably learned because my kids often have very raw feelings that can be strange to me. They have these natural urges to strike out when upset or judge things by how they feel when introduced to something new. I am beginning to realize, even more, how important it is to model behaviors that reflect the values that I have. I always tried to model of course, but even more so than telling them how to behave, I should DO.

    I, myself am trying to be a more compassionate person and yes, I'm trying to pass that on to my kids. I don't always do it the right way, but I'm learning every day. I also try very hard to not use the word belief and instead say "I think".

    Thank you for the website suggestion. I looked up self-actualization in Wikipedia too.

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  3. I, myself am trying to be a more compassionate person and yes, I'm trying to pass that on to my kids.

    Don't you think that would cover up the basic instincts in your children? Example: trying to be compassionate, while the aggressive instinct sill survives. trying to be loving, while the maternal instincts still survive.

    Sure - having them to commit to loving/compassionate acts may seem a 'good enough' fix for now; however as the instincts are still existing deep inside .. there is a potential for their emerging later as evidenced in, say, 'relationship troubles' .. however well-meaning the involved parties are.

    The traditional method (of teaching love/compassion/morality) has never worked till now; we need a third alternative. I merely wonder (with no definitely conclusion) whether teaching kids about instincts, their debilitating effects on people .. and a method (like Actual Freedom) to minimize and finally annihilate them would end up helping them finally find peace on earth.

    I also try very hard to not use the word belief and instead say "I think".

    It is clarifying to distinguish between the word 'fact' and the word 'belief' .. for the former is actual and the later exists only in the human psyche.

    As for 'I think', it is not always the case that beliefs are merely thoughts .. for more often than not, beliefs are feeling-backed thoughts.

    Thank you for the website suggestion.

    You are welcome.

    (...) I looked up self-actualization in Wikipedia too.

    Maslow's self-actualization (emotional, religious, spiritual, moralistic) has got nothing to do with Actual Freedom (non-affective, sensuous, non-religious, non-spiritual, non-moralistic).

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  4. I merely wonder (with no definitely conclusion) whether teaching kids about instincts, their debilitating effects on people .. and a method (like Actual Freedom) to minimize and finally annihilate them would end up helping them finally find peace on earth

    After reading the first three paragraphs at http://actualfreedom.com.au/actualism/others/sc-other/sco-innocence.htm .. I now see that it may not be the case.

    Good luck in any case .. it is fortunate to see more parents becoming increasingly rational.

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