Where Did We Go Wrong?

“We did everything adults would do. What went wrong?”
William Golding, Lord of the Flies    

If I asked a hundred different people, I suspect I would get a hundred different answers to Mr Golding’s question. Pretty scary, if you ask me.

The real scary part is the fact a child is asking the question. So why, when they did everything they’d seem the adults around them do, wasn’t it working? If you haven’t read Lord of the Flies, you definitely should. Then again, I can’t imagine anybody who hasn’t read the book – or maybe it’s me being the William Golding fan I am.

What could possibly go wrong when children struggle to create their own society? How about everything.

The failure is not theirs. It is ours, the adults. Society is broken. I know many of you might not agree with this statement, but I can’t look at the world around me without knowing we are broken. How did we lose so many people into nothingness? Into drugs or gambling or drinking or any other activity meant to dull the mind and body against the world. Where are we that these things are necessary to dull the world? Where are we when it is acceptable for people to starve?

I’m not one of those ‘good ole days’ people. I know society has been breaking for as long as we’ve had a society. Or, to put it another way, society has been broken ever since one human raised hand against another.

War break society. Hatred breaks society. Drugs and gambling and drinking break society. Children beaten and abused break society. Women raped; beaten. Millions of dollars spent on wars and elections instead of housing the homeless, feeding the starving. One neighbor killing another over a sliver of land. One child killing another over shoes.

So, let’s not blame the children. Lord of the Flies shows the creation and breakdown of a society. Look at the long haul. It’s truth.

Society is broken because the first somebody, somewhere, raised a hand in jealousy or hatred or fear. And it continues to break because we can’t undo the cycle. So where do we start?

We start with the children. We don’t hate them or hit them or starve them or abandon them. We feed them, body and soul. Above all else, we love them. We teach them empathy. We teach them love and compassion and understanding. We teach them hate is wrong. Jealously is wrong. Killing is wrong.

Most of all we teach them they are loved. They are valued and valuable to the world. We teach them that, no matter what color or creed or race or gender, they matter.

I don’t know if this will solve the problem, but I know we have to try.

A Mother’s Legacy or WWMD

It’s been over a year since my mother died. I no longer think about her death every moment of the day.  Now, it’s the little things which stop me in my tracks.  An old Christmas card with her signature.  A new Christmas without her signature.  My child calling on the phone, needing help, lost in the confusion of the world. I always want to say ‘figure it out on your own.’ I know I need to say ‘figure it out on your own.’  He needs to learn to stand on his own two feet, to take care of his problems, not to always think Mom will fix things for him.  But I think of my Mom and ask, ‘What would Mom do?’

She would have done anything and everything in her power to help her child. To help me. To protect me from the world and even from myself. She would also pick up a broom as soon as she entered my house and start sweeping. Or folding laundry. Waxing the floors. Going to the Grocery Store. I hope I’m not that compulsive of a cleaner in my children’s homes (when they get homes other than mine), but for the rest….. how can I argue with my mother?  How can I not follow her example?

Mothers are special.  My Mom was special and I hope, one day, I will be as special to my own young men. I hope every day that I can live up her to legacy.  To calmly say, ‘What can I do?’

WWMD – What Would Mom Do?  Not a bad way to live my life.