It is said that wisdom comes “from out of the mouths of babes.” The babe, in this instance, is my almost 19 year old daughter, Maggie (Magdalene), who burst into heartbroken tears while watching the CNN report of Omran Daqneesh, the shocked and stunned Syrian boy pulled from a pile of rubble after terror strikes in his neighborhood in Aleppo. Between sobs, Maggie asked me, “Why does the world have to be so mean?” As a mother, all I could do was hold my daughter and sit with her in the face of this eternally unanswerable question.
Why is the world so mean? Are we doomed as a species to only act in violence? Why do innocent children have to live in terror, watch their families die, or lose their own lives because of the senseless actions of fearful and angry men (I say “men” here as women are not the ones starting these wars!)?
To both myself and my daughter, the answer is simple really…..
WE DO NOT have to be so mean. We DO NOT have to act in violence. Innocent children DO NOT have to die because of the actions of fearful and angry men.
War is a CHOICE. Violence is a CHOICE. Terrorism is a CHOICE.
The world is mean because people choose to be mean. Human beings act in violence because they choose to act this way. People go to war because they choose to make war on one another.
But, it doesn’t have to be this way! If we have the power to choose violence, we also have the power to choose peace.
It really is this simple.
We always, and in every situation, have a choice.
The problem is that the vast majority of the human species does not know it has the freedom to choose and they don’t have the tools for making that choice. Choosing something other than hatred, violence, war, etc. starts with acknowledging our fear and having tools for managing this fear.
And the management of fear starts right here in our own homes – first with ourselves, then by being an example and a source of support for those around us. While we may not be able to halt a world hell-bent toward its own destruction, we can stop the day to day destruction that happens in our own homes. We can choose love instead of fear, peace instead of war, unity instead of perceived separation. We can sow the seeds of peace within our own hearts and then share them with those around us. As more and more of us choose love over fear, the world itself begins to change.
So the answer to my daughter’s pleading question, “Why does the world have to be so mean?” is that it doesn’t. The world is mean because people choose to be mean. And we have the power to choose otherwise. What are you going to choose?