Channeling Yoda?

I friend posted about love and not accepting hate. This whole “hate” thing has come up a lot lately. The idea of a “hate crime” repulses me, as if it’s ok to hurt someone physically as long as you don’t hate them. Hate probably is on the rise. I’d agree with that, but why is the real question. I think I have an idea. We are repressing fear and anger, and then disallowing the natural results.

Think about a child through a peaceful parenting lens. When a child comes to you with big nasty feelings like, “I hate Bobby! He’s mean and ugly!” or “I hate you Mom because you won’t let me go to the park by myself!”, what do we do? Do we yell back and say “You can’t hate. It’s wrong and terrible!”? Some people might, but peaceful parents don’t. We realize as peaceful adults that everyone has those nasty feelings of hate and we know where they typically come from. We help our kids by validating their feelings, holding them close, and hearing them out without judgment. We let the light in on it, so to speak. Then we can start to talk about where those thoughts came from and whether or not they are really justified.

Maybe he doesn’t really hate Bobby, it’s just that Bobby wouldn’t give him some of his candy and he was so disappointed that his friend would share. Then we can explore how to handle that nasty feeling of being disappointed. The hate is gone. With kids fear, disappointment, and anger can be swept quickly together and boiled into hate in an instant because they are kids.

With Mom, it’s something else but very similar. You know he feels like he’s being treated unfairly, we acknowledge that. We don’t say, “You can’t hate me!” because we know he can very well hate us. To deny that is to deny the reality of his feelings. We need to accept that at the moment he does hate us. Those feelings are very real and powerful. Then we can explore how we got to that hate. We can go back through the situation, see new things, make some explanations, and move on to a better feeling.

Recently, I’ve found that most people today haven’t had peaceful parenting practiced on them growing up. We all could use a bit of extra love even when we’re hateful and mean. We don’t need one more person telling us that our feelings aren’t real and are unwarranted. We need the time and light to explore why we feel this way safely and come to our own conclusions. I find that giving people space to hate and be angry, validating their initial reactions to things, tends to help people work through the fear and anger that caused them to hate something or someone in the first place more than condemning them for having the feeling in the first place.
Love and respect of everyone’s feelings whether we agree with them or not leads to others doing the same. And loving others in a world of people hating is a great place to start. I’m just trying to expand on that idea and explore how we might reduce the rise of perceived hatred in this world.
I’m sure you’d respect justified hate. A human’s first reaction to the unknown is usually fear and anger. Yoda says that! It’s instinctual, a survival skill of days gone by and probably should be explored. If you accept the feeling of fear and anger, validate them, they are explored better. Unexamined fear and anger can lead to hate. Sometimes that’s a good thing, like when we find out about pain or lima beans, explore them, and come to a hateful conclusion. The only way back from hate is to embrace it with love so that it feels safe to explore. When we feel safe to express our true feelings, generally those feelings change. I can really look at them in the light and see if I need to change my heart towards something. Few people that really know another in person can hate that person (unless you’re talking about ants. I really hate them no matter what, but that’s really a thing, not a person.)
That doesn’t mean condoning violence or aggression towards others. I can feel something and not act on that feeling. Much violence is repressed and unacknowledged hate from anger, which comes from fear and causes suffering. (again, I must be channeling Yoda today). Just as when a child who is told he cannot hate or be angry becomes more outwardly violent towards those around them, so does the adult that isn’t allowed to feel the way he feels. You just cannot repress feelings without dire consequences.

The Next Generation

“Generation Z” that’s what they are calling kids that are under 18 right now. My kids. Hmm…at first I was a bit taken aback by the idea of a “Generation Z”. What does that mean? It sounds so final. What could possibly come after Z? But then I had a spark of hope. Is this the last generation to live separately from the other generations? Will we begin to go back to a time when children were raised by their parents along with Grandparents and Aunts and Uncles in the home instead of an institution? Could this be the generation that changes how we live in the United States? It’s not the end of the world when things change, you know. We didn’t use to have this huge wall between generations of people. We didn’t use to live in a world where children lived separately from adults most of their lives and the elderly lived separately from the working adults. We used to all be interdependent with each other, helping and supporting each other as cohesive families. I think life has gotten much darker and scarier since we started this separation. Maybe this “Generation Z” will be the one the ends that. I think they may be the generation that brings us back together and forward into a much brighter and loving world.

Greed

We talked to some very nice people yesterday at the race track. It was a grandfather supporting his grandson’s racing. He was such a nice man and his grandson sure was fast and exciting to watch! We talked about how far we came to practice and race, what kind of training we do, diet, bikes, etc. It’s what you talk about while waiting for your race to come up. We learned a lot about each other and will probably see each other again at another track. Our kids aren’t in the same race class but they may be in the future! They inspired us and the boys to put more effort into practices. As a result, we’ve worked out a new training schedule and workout routine.

As we talked, I could tell we were coming from two different worlds. At the track, he had a really nice work van, stocked with tools and parts, as well as two very new and well-built race bikes. He talked about the 42′ RV Toy Hauler they were living in and their houses in two different states. We talked about getting to a big race in the southeast and I asked about how much it cost them to get there. It was a great eye opener. I would assume the boys would be discouraged. We can’t spend that kind of money! But they weren’t. They don’t believe you NEED to spend that much, it’s just that he can and is comfortable doing it. We can get there. We just need to be creative.

This morning I was thinking about that guy and all his stuff. It made me think about all the people I hear talking about rich people and their greed, all that money they have, buying whatever they want and here we are with one house, an old RV, and two very old bikes. But that isn’t what I felt at all. I am thankful that guy spends that money at the race track and buying new bikes. When he spends his money on four days a week practicing, the park is able to open that one day that we can afford to go. When he buys a brand new bike from the manufacturer, older bikes become available for us to buy. We can still put the same time and effort into racing and we benefit from what he is doing.

Think about the idea that rich people are greedy misers with all their money. Who is wrong here? The man with the money, spending it on what he wants? Or the one without it, wanting to take it away and spend it himself?

Philosophy

The impartiality which, in contemplation, is the unalloyed desire for truth, is the very same quality of mind which, in action, is justice, and in emotion is that universal love which can be given to all, and not only to those who are judged useful or admirable. Thus contemplation enlarges not only the objects of our thoughts, but also the objects of our actions and our affections: it makes us citizens of the universe, not only of one walled city at war with all the rest. In this citizenship of the universe consists man’s true freedom, and his liberation from the thraldom of narrow hopes and fears.” – Bertrand Russell “The Value of Philosophy”

Maybe our schools and families should stop the focus on S.T.E.M. (science and math) before philosophy and art. Maybe our world would be a better place if we focused on becoming better people instead of smarter people. And by this, I don’t mean children need to be forced to learn. I mean that the adults in this world should be encouraged to change their focus and bring the love of learning back into their lives as an example as they live alongside their children.

Another Book Started

I started reading “The Closing of the American Mind” by Allan Bloom this morning. It’s been sitting on my shelf for years along with several others and I’ve finally had the self-control to stop buying new books that draw my eye and read the ones I’ve already got on my “to -read” shelf! As I started to read it I wondered if I really should right now. Will it only depress me? Or will I be inspired to continue my own education further and encourage my sons to do so as well by my example? I’m going to go with inspired for now and see what happens!

The book was written in 1987 and I wondered two things as I read the preface. First of all, I wonder if any of our politicians today have a real “liberal education”. It seems to me that college no longer has the goal of making better people and has become a job training facility. We have children raised in institutions from near birth, completely cut off from the real world, that are now continuing on into college that they believe should be paid for by the government to get good jobs. Few, if any, even ask the question “What is man?” in any serious way. It’s so sad to me because we live in a time when free access to literature and classical writing, along with easy access to conversations with others about those topics is at its height. We don’t really need to spend a ton of money to become liberally educated but yet no one really wants it. Instead, they want free job training, which they could have gotten for free by just picking a career and interning while they learn it.

It all seems so backward. Will this book help me to learn how it got that way? Or whether or not we can change it?

Use of Force

If my neighbor came to my house in a truck with an easily accessible rack with a shotgun in it, a bullet proof vest on, a handgun on one hip and a club on the other, then proceeded to pound aggressively on my door to get me to come out, no one would blame me if I were scared and answered the door with an equal amount of aggression to be sure we were on the same footing when we spoke. But if that person were wearing a uniform with a badge, I’m supposed to ignore my instincts to protect myself and submit to his authority.

If a group of people gathers in front of a building or at a park dressed in protective gear and carrying guns and smoke grenades, no one would be surprised if the people within that area felt threatened (regardless of the words being spoken) and began throwing rocks and bottles to try to even out the threat, not to defend themselves after an attack but to show the aggressors that they will not be intimidated and will fight back. But if the armed and threatening people are dressed in a uniform and wearing badges of the state, then the people around them should submit to their assumed authority and essentially “roll-over” for them.

Why? Aggression is aggression regardless of what team you are on. Violence begets violence. What if we stepped down the aggression? What if we decided, as reasoning humans, that bad things do happen and evil does exist and our answer to it is not to heighten hostility but to extend trust and peace to those around us? What if we agreed that government does not have a monopoly on force and did not allow them to use it on us as much as we are not allowed to use it on others?

Just Stop

We all need to stop trying to change the world and focus on our immediate surroundings. Seriously. I’m starting to think that’s the only thing that really matters.

Are you stressed? Find a way to relax.

Husband angry and unhappy? Find something you can do that will make him happier.

Kids bored and disconnected? Find something you can do with them.

Your home needs repairs? Find one thing small and fix it or clean it up.

The bottom line is YOU and what YOU can do to make your immediate surroundings prettier, happier, and healthier. Stop looking for someone else to fix it. Stop worrying about getting the right politician elected. Stop looking a law to be passed that will make your life easier. Just stop.

If everyone worked on their own person and space, the whole world would be so much nicer. That’s what I’ve been doing. My life is happier the more I worry about that which I can actually reach out and touch instead of what my neighbor is doing.