Little Heathens...

... is the book I am finishing up this morning. And I am compelled to share this paragraph from the epilogue:

"I've only recently become aware of my good fortune in having grown up in an environment where everyone knew everyone else. In our community no one was a stranger. If we met an unfamiliar face on the way to the Farmers Store, we offered a greeting because we knew that person had to be a guest in the house of someone we knew. We were privileged to live with the comforting conviction that we had absolutely nothing to fear from people. Of course, we were quite aware that there were dangerous forces and conditions over which we had no control, but we were confident that no person was out to do us injury. This atmosphere created in us a sense of security, a sense of belonging in the world. Is there a more valuable gift than that?"

We, here in the US, are constantly on the lookout for the bad to happen. Bad courts us through the media all day long. And it has made us a fearful culture. We make so many of our decisions from a position of fear rather than love. 

How many of your neighbors do you know? We've unlearned to be neighborly. Being neighborly doesn't mean being best friends with all your neighbors, but it does mean being friendly. You don't have to like them, but you can be kind. And if you did know all your neighbors, wouldn't that make your neighborhood better? safer? more welcoming? And isn't that where we all want to live?

I am going over and over this in my own mind. How do we change our society? Can society be changed? Am I foolish to believe we can once again live in a non-fear based society?

Well, while some may call me foolish, I do believe we can move away from so fear-based, and the first step is to control the media/news inputs into our homes. Most of what is reported in the news has no direct influence on the decision-making in my home anyway.

Second step is to stop believing that most people I don't know may be out to get me, my children, my stuff. This is what the news would have me believe, and it's just not true. Let's say, for the sake of conversation that only 5% of the people I don't know are out to get me. Now it's just a numbers game that I can turn in my favor by doing the third step.

Third step is meet and greet more people! A cheery hello given to the shopkeeper, person I meet on the sidewalk, parent at the school is all it takes to make a connection. It could be the first step toward a friendship or it may just be a cheery hello given away at no charge. Either way, it's cost me nothing and it's helped to build a better community.

What else would you add to my list?



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