It's our time....

Friday 27 January 2017

We may not like what's going on in the wider world, but if we look closer to home.....

At a time when the language used by leaders is extreme and when rather than roaring in disgust our own leader fawns it is difficult to not become enraged. But in talkling to young people about this I say two things. The first is to look at how they use language. Throw-away jibes of ‘Gay’, man-up, grow a pair and the like may not be intended to cause harm but to some they do. They may not cause actual harm to me but they signpost intolerance and that does cause me pain. The second thing I say is that we may not be able to change what goes on in other countries. We may not be able to directly change what’s happening in ours but what we can do is change what we do. We can create the sort of community that we call for in others.

The sort of community that we should strive for is not one that segregates on the basis of religion, country of birth, gender, colour of skin or any other trait. It is not one that builds metaphorical walls. It is not one that uses divisive language, whether or not the language is intended to divide. The sort of community we should strive for is one of open-mindedness and tolerance. One that is non-judgemental and that does not value some abilities or characteristics as more or less important than others.

So, rather than bemoaning what is going on elsewhere we need to open our eyes, hearts and minds and turn them inwards. We need to look at our own communities that we can change. Our families, schools, villages, clubs, companies and towns. Then, although the world may be angry we can at least be at peace with the part that we play in supporting and developing the lives of those around us.


New comment

  1. February 6, 2017 12:31

    by Kristin Macdonald

    I love your comments and share your sentiments. Right now, we each have an opportunity to bring out the best in each other, to help our communities and put our values into action.

  2. January 28, 2017 15:08

    by Michele Howell

    Well said Richard. It's time to stop seeing homophobic language as "banter" and call it what it is - derogatory, hurtful and divisive.
    Apart from that, people who use it appear very ignorant, uninformed and very "uncool." Trainers can't be "so gay," gay men rarely wear tight jeans and lesbians don't always have short hair.

  3. January 27, 2017 11:14

    by Kate Griffiths

    Good post Richard and happy birthday!

    it all starts with our own individual conscious intention and what we radiate out to others? Do we come from a place of love or fear? How much compassion do we have for ourselves? Without that it is hard to find love for those around us even our nearest and dearest.

    I have issue with one word in your post because as you say we need to be conscious about the language we use. You talk about intolerance, the opposite of which is tolerance. Think about it for a minute who wants to be tolerated? In that sense it means to put up with and is usually associated with pain or annoyance. Tolerance often invokes intolerance as those that stand for it are often vehemently opposed to the views held by others. And so it leads to judgement.

    I could go further but in short what I am saying is tolerance does not have positive connotations. Rather I would choose to use the word acceptance.