The world we live in today can be rather a scary place. All too often we are faced with tragic news of yet another terror attack, or yet another sexual assault in the celebrity world that has been covered up for many years.
It is truly heartbreaking that here we are, all sharing this little planet together, all born equal, and yet so many still are fuelled by hatred and superiority. It terrifies me to know there are people in this world so very hateful, that they are willing to destroy and take away the lives of innocent people, simply because they do not share the same belief.
When we look at how many women and men are now coming forward to report sexual assaults, it is horrifying to think that for several generations, so many people have not been held accountable, nor have they shown any respect or regard for their many victims.
With all of this in my mind, whilst watching the breakfast news this morning, one topic really got under my skin, and really got me thinking that it is so important that we all start to take responsibility for the change that is desperately needed. This change is needed now more than ever.
The topic in question was in relation to schools being encouraged to stop placing strong emphasis on gender, and allowing boys and girls to wear and play with whatever they want to, without judgement. To forget typical gender expectations with regards to “acceptable” colours, clothes, toys, hair cuts etc. To simply allow children to express themselves any way they wish. To allow them to discover who they are inside freely. Something that I personally consider to be a basic human right-to be exactly who you are, without feeling ashamed, or being expected to explain yourself.
What really frustrated me however, was the way in which two parents being interviewed on the programme explained how their six year old son goes to school, and there is a child in his class who sometimes attends school as a “girl”, and sometimes attends as a “boy”. They were unhappy about this, as they were “concerned” about how this could impact their son, and were “worried” it will be too confusing for him at such a young age.
Whilst I am sure these parents had their son’s best interests at heart, it seemed to me that they had missed the point entirely. As parents, it is their responsibility to teach their child about equality, individuality, body positivity, celebrating differences, and accepting that everyone has the same worth in this world.
We all have a moral and social responsibility to teach young people to love and respect one another. We must start teaching them that no one is inferior to them, and that we are all individuals full of our own potential. We need to teach them that “different” doesn’t mean “scary” or “bad” or “wrong”. We must start teaching them that they are accountable for their choices and their actions in life.
No child should ever be made to feel ashamed in any way of who they are, where they come from, what they look like, or who their parents are. Or anything else for that matter.
Children are not born prejudice. They are not born self-conscious. They are not born hateful, and they are not born with a sense of entitlement to disrespect others. These are all things they are taught by the people they look up to in their young lives. Children learn who they believe they should hate. And this is a very heartbreaking truth. Children are literally being taught to express the major cause of so much pain and destruction in this world. Hatred.
We must now raise a generation of people who know how to love each other. People who look around a room and see no gender, no colour, no disability, no sexual orientation, no social class. But instead, they simply see people. Wonderful, special, unique people.
We simply cannot keep on wishing for peace, and yet neglecting to accept the very serious fact that we are actually responsible for creating a peaceful world ourselves.
Change starts with each and every one of us. Change starts within.
Until next time…