If Hate and Prejudice is Taught, then Love and Acceptance can be Taught too

Life Is Too Short

AM.jpg-25f11a2331401bc3747794c9315ffe28 It’s sad when people are so consumed by hate, that they don’t even recognize love.

In response to a group of religious fanatics carrying signs of hatred towards certain people, the yellow banner in this photo was created to give a positive alternative for people’s viewing.  After the pastor of the religious group passed away, protestors held up the white banner to offer their condolences for the baptist congregation.  Some of the church members are so filled with hate, they don’t even understand the meaning of the white banner and it’s significance.

If we can teach this level of hatred toward others that they would hold up signs of criticism in public, surely we must be able to teach an equal amount of love.  The yellow and white signs are the first step in that teaching.

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The Golden Rule – doesn’t really work for adults

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Sure when you are a kid, it makes sense that you want people to be nice to you, and so you should be nice to them.  But as we become adults and have specific preferences and desires, this is really bad advice.

For example, I’m not big on celebrating my Birthday.  To me it just like any other day.  I do have friends who care a lot about people making their birthday special.  So I should treat them as they want to be treated, not as I would prefer.  There are so many other examples.  When I’m angry or upset, I first go through a phase of wanting to be left alone.  Then after a bit, I just want to do something positive and get over whatever was bothering me.  That routine does not seem to match with the routine of many people around me.

So we have to learn to accommodate what other people want.  But many times people do not communicate what they need/want.  We can all improve our communication skills, and try to ask for what we want.  While at the same time, we should be mindful of what people ask.  If someone says they need space, or they don’t want to talk about it right then, respect their wishes.  Which came first, people not talking about what they need, or requests being ignored so that we decided it’s not worth asking?

Facebook could be the answer for “Peace in the Middle East”?

It’s amazing how people are improving major problems in the world.

  • ViolenceRonny Edry is a graphic designer who is using Facebook to to spread love between Israel and Iran, but it has now spread to all nations around the world.  Just as violence begets more violence, we learn how Love can be spread as well, and multiplied.
  • EducationbuildOn is teaching kids in the US how to make a difference in the world and building schools in the most remote locations where the lack of education leads to extreme poverty.
  • Domestic Violence and Women’s Rights: the book and documentary Half the Sky gives a detailed view if education, violence, and sexual issues women face around the world, but also shows the local programs and support networks being developed by those same people suffering from the abuse.
  • Child Abuse: the Children’s Trust Fund in Massachusetts is focused on supporting families and parental development as a means to stop child abuse, we have to stop the cycle.

Love vs. Happy

I think a lot about love…  About how we think of it, how we feel it.  What gives us the feeling of love and what we are missing when we don’t feel love.

Watching a movie yesterday, The Beginners, there is a scene where the Oliver talks to his gay father’s younger lover and comments that he was jealous of the lover because his dad Loved Him, as if he felt more love for the boyfriend than for his own son.  But the movie subtly portrays the acts of love that Oliver is not wise enough to interpret from his father.  Just as the book the 5 Languages of Love points that that people give and receive love in one or more of 5 ways, we don’t always realize the ways someone expresses their love for us.  My response to that particular scene was a reminder of how we confuse the emotions of Love and Happiness.

The movie itself is a realistic view of the process of love.  How we meet someone and that elated feeling of happiness makes us think we are in love.  And over time love can develop in a relationship, a deep authentic love, where we do what we think is best for the relationship even if we cannot get or give what we want.  Well maybe I also confuse commitment in there too, in the conscience choice of dealing with the circumstances and making the most of the situation.

Love is a combination of so many things.  But I feel very little about love relates to being happy.  They are different emotions, sometimes experienced together.  In our material society we like to give up and throw out the things that no longer make us happy, quickly moving on to the next best thing.  But how can we do that with friends, loved ones, significant others, relationships?

People like to say that Ignorance is Bliss, and Love is Blind.  But I don’t want to be so blind that I don’t understand love and therefor might accidentally throw love away, just because I don’t fully conceptualize all the components of love.

Everyone needs a little Humanity

A couple of things I have been surrounded with lately have combined into one idea. What everyone is looking for in life, and what seems to bring infinite happiness to people is compassion and understanding.  A human connection that comes from understanding each other and the experience one or both persons are going through.

Today’s local public news station has a story recently of how a little understanding and act of compassion goes a long way in the local jail (the people held here are awaiting trial and have not been convicted of a crime).  We can debate back and forth the worthiness of criminals to receive these types of acts, but given the positive impact for life of the inmates and the guards, and the potential for this to be the first step in getting their lives back on track, isn’t it worth while to make the extra effort?  I would imagine this to be more effective reform of many types of criminals.

Another related story is a discussion on K-12 education in the US where the participants identify the most significant need for education today are people (teachers/counselors) who have the time and ability to connect with the students and be emotionally for those in need of that support.  Some kids just need someone to believe in them.  This can come from family or from someone in the community.  Each participate related a story of success to having that supportive person in their life, and the student who dropped out of school agreed that a lack of support was a major factor to their decision.  Check out the discussion on Education Nation on NBC.  The challenge is to develop our education system with proper incentives for providing this support while maintaining the educational goals, and not overtax our educators.  I suspect the evidence will show that we need more educators and staff in the school system.

“Children need love, especially when they do not deserve it. ”

– Harold S. Hulbert

I think this applies to all people, but especially to children.  We spend so much time each day interacting without significance, especially when living in the city.

The Pain of Disrespect – Why does it seem like people overreact to small events?

Unless we live as a hermit, completely removed from society and interaction with other people, we all will disrespect someone sometimes a family member, sometimes our close friends, and sometimes complete strangers.  Either by words or actions, and often completely by accident.  Whether the disrespect was intentional or accidental, we often regret the words or action and wish it could be undone.

Once the harm has occurred, it may impossible to undo.  Even the best apology encompassing the 5 elements of a complete apology may not restore the world to the way things were before the disrespect occurred.  Although we may be able to restore our relationship with the inflicted person, the damage does not completely disappear.  The relationship is now more susceptible to future disrespect.  If we disrespect the same person, the emotion and damage from previous events comes flooding back, and it’s as if all the past events are layered on top of each other and added to this new conflict.  And the guilty person may not be aware of the compounding hurt flooding into the new conflict, making it seem like the afflicted person is overreacting to a small event.  With each event, it becomes more difficult to repair the damage.

I wish I could teach every person and every kid the compounding effect of disrespectful events and actions, so we can take more care in avoiding them.

The 5 Languages of Apology

Couple Married 72 Years Die Holding Hands

Last week I learned the lyrics to one of my favorite songs is I will Follow You Into The Dark by Death Cab for Cutie.  Open this link to have the song play while you read a touching article about this loving couple.  Then listen to the song again and read the lyrics, if you don’t already know the lyrics.  …May we all find such a partner in life.

What is also funny to me, recently I was chatting with some aunts and uncles.  Somehow the discussion diverged into death and burial and cremation.  One of my aunts made a comment that if you mix the ashes of two people, it’s like Sex after Death.  …May we all find such a partner for the after life.

What is True Love?

Being female and growing up in the US in the 80’s and 90’s with the Disney Princess movies and such, I have been conditioned to a particular definition of True Love.  And I have been conditioned to expect my Prince Charming to show up on a White Horse and my life will be problem free forever.

No wonder people are not getting married until their 30’s, and people who do marry in the 20’s have a higher divorce rate.  It takes the experimentation of our 20’s to realize the Disney definition of True Love is not realistic for a long-term relationship.  It’s so easy to belive we are in love when first meeting someone, and the chemical reaction in our brains provides that elated feeling, as if we could take off and fly from the extreme happiness and excitement.  But is happy and excited a reasonable definition of love when evaluating a long-term relationship.  For some, maybe this is true.

For others, we need a different way to identify True Love; actually I think it’s more like a recipe.  Everyone’s recipe is different, because we each have a different lifestyle, personality, and set of goals for our long-term relationship.  Supposedly, E-harmony has developed a reasonable method of writing someone’s recipe and matching it a compatible partner.  I think we should expand our discussion, especially with young people, to popularize this idea of a True Love Recipe.

  • Intelligence Match – This is the most critical item for me.  I appreciate and enjoy a partner who is logical in the way that I am and has a similar way of thinking.
  • Financial Match – How do you each treat money, earning and spending.  Sometimes opposites can balance each other out, or drive each other crazy.
  • Activity Match – Having similar interests can be important.  After the newlywed phase is over, will each person feel like they are sacrificing their time and happiness to participate in the other person’s activity.  I also like having a few things to do on my own, or with my girlfriends.
  • Lifestyle Match – Do both people enjoy spending extra money eat at nice restaurants, buying bottled water or Don Perrier, etc. or do they prefer a simple lifestyle?  I think we don’t expect to find an exact match here, but everyone probably has a certain range of tolerance.  This item could also be viewed as Priority Match.
  • Household Chores and Roles – Some people have expectations of who will perform certain tasks and functions (cleaning, paying bills, discipline the kids). 
  • Child Raising – Everyone will have some differences here.  I don’t have kids to know all the items that can come up, but I would want to agree with my partner on how to discipline the kids and how to be a united team in that process.