Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Problem we live with...

"The Problem we live with"  is the title of Norman Rockwell's painting above. When Ruby was the very first Afro American to go to an all white school in the South, she was escorted to school by policeman as an angry crowd mobbed her. Her family lost jobs and had to have people look after their house when they were out - it reflected the society's problem at the time. There was a reaction to the problem, people like brave Ruby actually took a stand and friends stood by them and fought with them for justice. Today our problem is apathy, our comforts are so great we forget there is anything we need to fight against or anyone who needs us to fight for them.

Today in Jessica's Child Care TAFE class they were given a list of about 20 things and had to prioritise what was most important to them... some of the options were spirituality, family, social justice, loving relationships, peace, self esteem, education, sense of community, happiness,etc

Jessica was the only person as far as she could make out who had  "social justice, sense of community and education" in her top 10. It totally blew me away! After all we live in a world of millions of AIDS orphans - such a response from a class of kids preparing to look after children as a full time job, in a country that murders babies through abortion every day.... The most popular was family - phew, albeit by the loose definition of the word family. But why did no one else have social justice, or sense of community?

They also had to write down 5 of their own things they value highly...the biggest was family, only one person said marriage, she was a foreign student, not an Australian. Some people said friendship and nobody said children.... these are the people who will help bring up our future leaders - scary!

In all this nobody said anything that implied an understanding of what a community is, such as getting advise from older people or more knowledgeable people as something to be desired. So if you plan to change this generation before they influence your children or grandchildren - forget it, it's not going to happen!

The only hope is that not everyone shared their thoughts publicly, so maybe there were a few others who were on the same wave length as Jessica. Why did Jessica stand out as differnt, is it because she was homeschooled? Or because her parents have stongly influenced her...they grew up in Africa surrounded by fights for social injustices and a need for working well as a communty? Doesn't everyone have to face these issues though?

The saddest case for me (Jessica thinks it is the funniest) was the guy who sits and passes notes to  his girlfriend through lectures (if they spilt up for tutorials, he is late because he has to kiss his gal goodbye after everyone is inside, long private smoochy stuff) He could not think of anything to say when asked to write 5 things he values most highly . After the lecturer suggested, "your girlfriend" he said, "oh, yes". I am blushing for the poor girl as I write. I am sure it is a reflection of his brain capacity, not her sweetness!

"The problem we live with" today in our society is almost sadder as we don't even know we have a problem! We need to make some bigger noises, don't we?

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