The rampage in Newtown, Conn has many of us shaking our heads and weeping. The peace of the Shabbat will be harder to find. Still I pray that you will find a way to walk in peace and hold on to the light of love that can light the darkest times.
EMOTIONAL FITNESS MEANS WORKING TO MAKE THE WORLD BETTER.
Step one toward a better world. Know the multiple causes of violence. Many people will look for simple solutions and among the first will be to ban guns. But some say with a bit of truth, that if someone in the school had had a gun, the mass slaughter might have been prevented. I cannot disagree, but I would like to see assault weapons banned and that is with full awareness the criminals will still carry them. No one thing causes violence. Here is my list of some the reasons why:
- Guns in the hands of the angry, probably mentally ill or criminals.
- The anti-social behavior of far too many leaders-including politicians, preachers, teachers. celebrities.
- The ever increasing violence in the entertainment media and not just counter culture rantings. Recent studies show such “entertainment” does make us more prone to harboring anger and acting on it.
- Tv’s talking heads encouraging argument at best but too often spewing hatred and violence at each other
- Slanted and biased news along with misinformation and hateful rants on all social media.
- The growing presence of violence in TV ads. Some cars ads are promoting revenge destruction of other people’s cars.
- Advertisers creating stereotypes of beauty, wisdom, making fun of adult wisdom, making too many people feel not good enough and promising more than any object can deliver. Discontent drives sales.
- Win at any price and “Kill ’em” sports.
- Veneration of false stars and heros — celebrity Moms are one of my pet peeves, but only the tip of the iceburg.
- The veneration or normalization of criminal behavior. Think Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
- The quest to make everyone a star.
- Fanatics insisting all must believe in a single truth. Most dangerous are the ones who condemn the “other” to damnation and kill in the name of a higher power.
- The denigration of religions that promote tolerance for all. Some don’t need a belief in God to be kind or to tolerate the pain of this world and their fear of death. Many find sustenance in their religion and are only said others have not found their joy.
- Focusing education on intellectual elitism instead of helping people be content with being stars in their life and family. Manners and empathy contribute more to the good life than brains or wealth.
- Focusing on parents on raising happy instead of productive or kind kids.
- Labeling people in all sorts of ways –the only labels that should matter are kind or cruel to self and others
I am sure you can add to this list. Do so.
Step two toward a better world. Act to bring more to peace. Here are a few ways:
- Whatever you think is the problem, step out of your belief and examine what the opposition thinks. Do so with an open mind seeking to understand how good people come to such beliefs. Want guns banned read some NRA material and if for guns read the opposition. Look for at least three points in the opposition that you agree with or at least find understandable.
- Work harder to understand, share and care for those who are troubled. Most of the mentally ill are not violent, but all need support and caring.
- Boycott some of the media you think promotes violence.
- Actively promote good sportsmanship in sports.
- Do not collude with those who are violent – ignoring violent acts is colluding, speak up in person, in letters to the editor, on your social media channels.
- Promote teaching tolerance, manners, and kindness in all educational avenues. Sesame Street does a good job starting our young off, make sure the rest of the educational system does the same.
We will not survive if we keep on our current path.
For all you do to support my efforts, thank you.
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