I gaze at this photo taken late last summer, with its fields of loosestrife and goldenrod, the sturdy trees bordering the meadow, and the fluffy clouds softening the deep blue of the sky. A little piece of Heaven in this world of ours. Unfortunately, though, for so many on this earth at this moment in time, their everyday reality is of bombings and destruction and terror, and it seems that the terror is spreading rapidly into places where we once felt safe. There is hatred and dissension growing in our own country. Distrust, fear, and intolerance color the perspective of many of our citizens. The Presidential campaign resembles schoolyard bullying, rather than any degree of sensible discussion.
As a woman in her sixties, I could easily turn my head and heart away from this terrible state of our world — my time left here is dwindling down. However, as a mother, grandmother, and caring person, I worry and pray and hope that somehow things will improve. The big question in my mind is what we can do as individuals to save our world as we know it. I believe that we must begin by attempting to make our own small piece of the world a better place. We must increase our awareness of local government, school district administrations, and issues that affect us on a local level. We must vote in the primaries and the town, county and state elections. We should be cognizant of our local school district budget planning, and vote on the budget each year.
It is extremely important to read articles written by good journalists and listen to news which has been researched thoroughly. At one time, journalism was a proud profession, but today, anyone can spread false information on the internet or many of the vast TV and radio news programs which are available to us 24/7. As it becomes more and more difficult to sort fact from fiction, we must all make the effort to be sure the news we are hearing is being produced by real journalists who take pride in accuracy.
We must encourage kindness and tolerance in our young children. People don’t just “suddenly” become racist or intolerant — these are learned behaviors. We must have real conversations with our children with phones, I-Pods, TV, etc. turned off. The conversations I have had with my little grandchildren amaze me. They love to talk and to listen; as we discuss the issues they are old enough to understand, they feel validated by our interest in their opinions, and they learn to look at their world with a degree of maturity that will be necessary as they face the challenges of this complicated world. They must have time to enjoy the natural treasures of our world; then they will be more apt to want to preserve the beauty that is around us. They must be taught by example to care for other people’s feelings and respect the opinions of others.
Most importantly, while we may ask, what difference can one person make, we can make a difference in the lives of other people by showing kindness, concern, and respect for their opinions. We can make a difference by helping to preserve our environment, by volunteering at local shelters or food pantries, by becoming involved in local politics, by mentoring underprivileged children, even by writing letters to our state and federal representatives.
I admit, we face daunting challenges in this mixed up, dangerous world in which we live, and we obviously cannot change the entire world, but, one person at a time, we can make a little piece of our world a better place, and just think what could be accomplished if each person felt challenged to do one little thing. We might all make the world just a little bit better place for our grandchildren.