In the last few weeks as judgement flies freely over social media and even in everyday conversation, it’s sometimes too easy to get lost in our own minds. While we know that nobody is perfect sometimes we might forget that our way of life, of doing things or of handling a situation is not the only way. I actually deactivated my facebook a week or so ago because logging in was starting to make me sick and just disgusted with the people I saw every single day bashing and judging complete strangers. It’s one thing to agree to disagree or to acknowledge someone else’s lifestyle but to openly and ignorantly bash someone you know nothing about? It was just upsetting to me.
I struggled with what to tell Ava about this election or how to understand the things happening around her in a way that wouldn’t damage her innocence. Finally I just decided it was best to tell her the minimum, she’s only 7 after all and her teachers did a great job of explaining the government, elections and democracy so I saw no reason to tell a 7 year old about the racial and gender issues that embedded themselves into the 2016 presidential election. What I did want her to know or understand is that we live in a big big world and every single one of us is different, and that’s okay. Diversity is what makes this world and this city so great.
I wanted Ava to understand the ability to be objective and to know how to step back and view a situation out of her own shoes. It’s a hard thing to do especially if you’ve got a vested interest in the topic, but it eliminates ignorant hatefulness. It’s easy to condemn a life we have never lived but it is easier to understand if we remove ourselves. For example, I’ve seen great debate over public assistance and the stigma that comes with it. People don’t seem to understand that not every person who gets food stamps is living off the government unemployed, in fact most are hard working people who just need a little help to make ends meet, and there’s nothing wrong with that. When you retain the ability to be objective you can separate the people who abuse the assistance from those who truly need it.
Not everyone gets the same affordances to start out with in life and the road to getting there for some takes longer. Sometimes people deal with things outside of their control and do the best they can to keep going. Remember, judging someone’s path to a destination only sets us back in our own.