Can talking heal a world gone mad?
All around me teenagers are wondering what is going on in our world. They see bombings in peaceful places, shootings, great tragedies caused by people who just seem to want to cause pain and torment to innocent people. Right now, in our world, there are wars being fought that affect everything from the value of the dollar to the price of our oil. In this global economy we are truly experiencing a butterfly effect of sorts on an everyday basis. When conflict happens on one side of the world there are repercussions everywhere. This is not necessarily natural disasters, or cosmic disturbances but real people hurting real people. It’s ludicrous.
I see a great deal of fear and anxiety amongst my students. They see the threats from North Korea and they know their lives are being affected by forces outside of their own control. This new world many of them are born into seems to be balanced precariously on the edge of a knife.
On a personal level my students are also seeing a great deal of pain and tragedy in their own lives and the lives of their friends. They hear of story after story of bullying, cutting, suicides and pain. The students I work with are asking all kinds of questions. Why are people like this? Why doesn’t someone do something? How can anyone stop this nonsense?
Many of my students have watched the breakup of their parents marriages, have seen hearts broken. They have known victims of bullies who could no longer take the pressure and finally just end it all.
How does one change the course of a broken and tragic world?
Michael Jackson challenged us all to start with the man in the mirror. I would like us to take one step further… start talking to the people next to you. No matter who they are. Human beings need communication, we need to speak to one another, to have a conversation. We need to move beyond status updates, blog posts and twitter feeds. Ultimately, we need to move from carrying on a textual relationship and move into the realm of actually seeing people face to face, eyeball to eyeball.
It’s a scary world, but all it needs is a little conversation. We need to be able to listen to one another, and learn from each other. Less hate and more awkward questions. Less pain and more laughter. Less eyes on our phones and more eyes looking into the eyes of those who are hurting.
Can talking heal a world gone mad? I think so.