My daughter is feeling particularly snarky about her schoolwork today. She mentioned to me earlier that she was going to die before the class that she had to watch finished on the computer, and I reminded her that this is September Eleventh and that on the anniversary of the murder of so many people, I did not appreciate her comment. She is a kid. The drama and the self-centeredness are completely normal for a nine year old. One of the huge problems that I see in the world right now however, is that when we become adults our scope of relevance is supposed to expand. I believe that if we are healthy, well functioning humans, we learn more, become more aware of the world around us, and care about things that are bigger than we are as we mature.
I was reading a strain of comments posted under an article that a friend of mine had put up online yesterday. She does global poverty reform work and has been in and out of many countries in Africa. The article posted was in regards to the Ebola epidemic that we are currently facing, and I was blown away as I read comment after comment coming from all of her friends who work in the same field. They were all deeply distraught over what they were witnessing, and all of the suffering that they were finding themselves in the middle of day after day. One woman even spoke of how much trouble she was having with her own despair and how hard it was for her to get out of bed in the morning.
Back here in the good old US of A; the most news that I have heard about the Ebola epidemic has been a couple of articles meant to assure Americans of how it does not pose a threat to us. Most common in the news lately; people dumping buckets of water on their heads, scientifically ignorant crusaders still trying to destroy the largest ally of marine life on the globe, and football players still fucking beating up women. Not to say that we don’t have scads of truly relevant problems here in the US that are affecting masses of people, like our own refined sugar epidemic, but nobody pays any attention to that, because it is no fun. We would much rather look at Brad and Angelina’s wedding pictures. Maybe the kids and I should all be dumping buckets of sugar on our heads.
I lucked the fuck out as a kid. I had two relatively sane parents who did their best not to screw me up too much , and they taught me a hell of a lot as well. Every single time that I tried to waste food, my mother reminded me about starving children, and I am eternally grateful that she did. It helps me to get through the day. Every time that I notice myself starting to internally mope over one of my tedious first world problems, I remind myself that there are women that are going to have to walk miles just to get drinking water today. I say a tiny prayer of thanks every time that I see the check out at the grocery light up with APPROVED as I am purchasing food for my family to eat. When I hug my kids, I thank god that they are healthy and safe.
I don’t know if I could survive doing what my friend does, but I sure as hell am grateful that she is out there doing it, and I know that a lot more people like her are needed in this world. We encourage our children to be so many different things when they grow up, and a lot of those things are pretty damn un-helpful to society. Hell, there is even one dipshit who claimed a small parcel of land in Africa so that his daughter can be a fucking princess when she grows up. We rarely encourage our children to grow up and be the adults who do the really difficult humanitarian duties that our world is so desperately in need of. If I could ask the parents of my community to do anything for the world, I would ask them to teach their children to care, to care about more than what is happening in their tiny little rainbow world, and to care about the planet that desperately needs them.