Thursday, 3 November 2011

Upside Down World

In our blame-ridden, compensation-driven culture, it is hard to teach our children (and even ourselves) to take responsibility for their own actions. This week our family have been thinking about this very wise saying:

"Do for other people the same things you want them to do for you."

It is, of course, more fun if you say it in a Yoda voice but the original version was by Jesus.

So often we are all too quick to point out other people's faults. "He hit me first!", is the usual cry in my house. Always willing to overlook our own part in the proceedings, we concentrate on what others are doing. We pick at their misconduct and sometimes even exploit it for our own good. This saying, however, turns all of that upside down.

First and foremost, our responsiblity is to ensure we are living right, whether that is starting a fight (and oh, how many of those are started in my house each day) or ensuring we are showing kindness to those who we might not feel naturally inclined to show kindness to. It should be our concern how we are behaving. Instead of poking our nose into other people's business, we might do better if we took a good long sniff of ourselves, and then be prepared to make the changes necessary.

If we all lived by this saying, just this saying, our world would be turned upside down too. Kindness, generosity and love might actually prevail over selfishness and pride. No longer would there be silly health and safety laws about children not being allowed to jump in leaves or skid on the ice in the school playground (just in case parents take court action). Poverty would be eased as riches were shared around. My boys might actually go one whole day without fighting (a major feat).

Is this possible in our egocentric culture? Can we really take responsibilty for ourselves? Or has our culture just gone too far away from this now?

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