I am sure you will have read the list that starts with: ‘you will receive a body’. It points out the lessons for learning whilst on this planet.
The lessons do not abate until they have been learnt and ticked off.
Then you receive another lesson.
To cut to the chase, it is surely about compassion.
Compassion for one’s self and for our fellow human.
A lesson I have been experiencing, being presented in many facets, is around bullying.
It was highlighted by my recent trip to the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) in Brisbane to see the exhibition “My Country, I Still Call Australia Home: Contemporary Art by Black Australia”.
I loved it, it told a story I knew, but now I know more.
Racism is a very clear form of bullying, against someone because of their culture.
At my children’s school, I have been aware of situations where exclusion, being “pushed around”, name calling and disrespectfulness occurred.
I remember myself as a child being excluded. It is hurtful.
Having spoken to a couple of teachers, it seems a ‘normal’ growth stage.
I mean normal in that it is familiar, regular, across the board and it happens.
There’s nothing ‘normal’ about hurting someone.
And seemingly it has been happening for generations.
So are we stuck with it?
I watched an Austrian television documentary about the summer retreat island on the Donau River (Vienna). A young, 9/10 year old boy was espousing his views of all the foreigners coming into his country. (An issue we Australians refer to as the ‘boat people’)
Firstly, why does someone so young care about transit of people across the planet? And secondly, how does he conceive to weave it with racist commentary?
That’s a rhetorical question.
His major role models have taught him.
Recently, Adam Goodes, a high profile aboriginal football player, (sport is what connects many Australian households) was called an ‘ape’ by a young schoolgirl.
Hermoine Grainger was bullied for being a mudblood.
Julia Gillard, as prime minister, was bullied for her hairstyle – prior to that no one cared for her hairstyle at all, surely?
The Australian Parliamentary system is rife with bullying as they attack each other with schoolyard tactics.
We are evolving.
We no longer stick children up English chimneys.
Although, a mere 6 generations ago, we did.
Black’s buses and white’s buses.
These days, American people can ride any bus.
At least women can vote these days,
however, not every woman everywhere.
Inequality due to age, colour, race, religion, sexual differences.
We are evolving.
All we all want is to be loved, to have clean water, healthy food and shelter
and to have that for our children
and their children’s children.
This planet is plenty big enough
treat it with respect,
love your neighbour,
and all creatures on the planet.