“You are personally responsible for becoming more ethical than the society you grew up in.”

Sometimes I feel like the world is about to explode. It seems like the world is going to explode into happiness – or like everyone is about to burst into spontaneous song – or maybe even like I can see little pieces of heaven floating everywhere. That sounds dumb, but you get what I mean.

And then there are those days that feel heavy and somehow crooked. Days that look like how hate feels. Days that you can sense everyone’s insecurities and everyone’s fears – You feel ugly inside and the world around you is ugly too.

To me it seems like these days are happening more and more. I don’t know if I’m growing up – which means I am simply developing a more cynical view of a world that has barely changed – or if the world is really descending into heaviness and crookedness.

I was thinking about this today while I was taking the two toddlers I nanny for a walk. These boys only know a few words, but from the moment I walk through their front door the one word I hear most from them is, “DIGGERS”. (There is a construction site just down the street and the boys are obsessed. I mean OBSESSED. It’s pretty cute, except for the fact that I care in no way about diggers.)

Me: “Good morningggg boys! Did you have a good sleep?”
Twin #1: “Digger” (Which he actually pronounces “di-dder”. Cute.)
Me: *silently in my head* “Really? I wipe your bum and sing silly songs and read the same books over and over again, but I’m just the lady who brings you to see the diggers…”
Twin #2: *realizing that he has gone a whole 2 minutes without talking about diggers* – “DIGGER! DIGGER! DIGGER!”

Anddddd they’re gone. Can’t talk about anything else until we go see the diggers. This happens more times in a day than I care to admit.

My point in telling you this was 1) to brag about my boys because they are actually the cutest things when they get excited about diggers and 2) to say: These boys know nothing apart from what their parents and myself teach them and show them every day. Whether I mean to teach them or not, they are always watching. They are at that stage where they are learning new words or new skills all the time because they are copying us.

I brought out the broom the other day because I dropped something, and twin #1 grabbed it from me and started handling the broom like it was his day job. Neither of his parents, nor I, took the time to teach him what you do with a broom, but he must have seen one of us using it sometime ago and stored it in his little brain for later.

As simple as this story is about the broom, I think we all learn like this. Barely anyone purposely teaches me how to be racist, but I find myself having to unlearn tendencies. Barely anyone purposely teaches me how to put others down or take advantage of others, but I find that everyone is subconsciously showing me how to do it under the surface. Our entire society continues to allow each other to be complacent, because that’s what we know – that’s what we have learned.

I think what I’m trying to say is that the world seems like it’s getting worse and feeling ugly because it is barely changing. I am getting impatient with the world because I don’t see people stepping up enough or changing enough and that keeps things right where they are. One of my favourite quotes is, “You are personally responsible for becoming more ethical than the society you grew up in.” You are responsible for your actions and for what you teach others. You are responsible for becoming more accepting and more loving than the generation before you.

Does that make any sense at all? Maybe not, but my mind has been going in circles all day as I watch those perfect, uncorrupted gorgeous boys and I can’t help but wonder if they have already started to learn from us our short-comings. Have they already learned some form of hate – or some form of jealousy – or homophobia – or sexism – etc, etc, etc. I hope that they grow up to be better than I am. And I hope that I can teach them better than how I was taught.

I have absolutely no answers for any of you. These are just my observations and my pleas for humanity all wrapped up in a blog-ramble. I also just remembered I’m supposed to be talking about women of the past… Sooo, you get MY (because I am a woman) PAST (because they happened a few hours ago) thoughts for your Throwback Thursday. Oops?

Alas, I leave you with a Mandela quote. The right amount of cheese, but also the perfect amount of truth – I hope.

“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate. And if they can learn to hate, they can learn to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

Hannah Hannah

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