Sep 19, 2009

Reflections on Humanity

This is part of a post I am reprinting from a previously-published post on my other blog.

I have come to believe that we are all so much more connected to each other, to the earth, to the past, and to the future than we generally act like we are. I have also come to believe that, as a whole, people have come to live lives that are too disconnected from each other and the world in which we all share. However, humanity is everywhere...

I have seen humanity in so many teachers who refuse to give up, no matter how difficult the education climate in this state has become, no matter how many times they are told to do things that go against what they know to be good for children. These teachers continue not only to show up everyday, but to love and believe in their students in ways that lift these young people to heights previously unimagined.

I have seen humanity in the way that some people remain hopeful in the face of all kinds of adversity, who believe that they are on this earth to serve others, and who selflessly give of themselves without sacrificing their souls.

I am learning more and more that one of the most beautiful things about embracing voluntary simplicity is that by being true to myself and my own values, I can also free up resources that others might need. I've learned that poverty and voluntary simplicity are two very different things. I have never been poor, but I have worked with countless students and parents who, although impoverished in terms of their economic situations, were rich beyond measure. How can so many of us continue to live with such excess, while so many in this world cannot even afford to meet the basic human needs of themselves and their families?

To be human means to look at all other humans as equals. Period. It is as simple and as complicated as that. I'm working on this equality thing, because I don't think that we are brought up in this society to learn how to treat each other as equals.

To be human also means to be aware of how our decisions affect ourselves and others. I think that if we were to truly learn about where our food comes, how it is manufactured, and how we are fed so many lies in the name of profit and big business, we might begin to work towards a healthier world. I am proud to say that I have not given one penny to the fast food industry in a number of years, and if I could take back all the money I gave to them years ago and instead give it to local, organic farmers I would in a heartbeat. I am also proud to say that I continue to educate myself on where my food comes from. I am a vegetarian who tries to buy locally grown and organic when I can. I know I can and should do more. And I do not admonish those who choose differently than I do. But I do believe strongly that if we knew more we would make different choices and begin to change the course of history.

And I believe that to be human means to believe in the possibility of hope and change.

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