Hunger in America
and in the world.
She sat on the wall, legs kicking with the tap, tap, tap of patient leather on wood. Even though she had heard her mother calling, she continued to stare at the pink flowers. They danced in the cool breeze, the promise of mystery whispering in her ear, words just beyond her understanding.
“There you are. How many times have I asked you to come when I call? Dinner is getting cold.” Without looking, Jenny knew mother was shaking her head because she always shook her head when she was mad.
Instead, Mother sat beside her, wrapping an arm round her daughter. She wanted to understand her daughter’s silence world . Why this particular spot? It was nothing but a patch of meadow sneaking into the trees, slashes of sunlight gilding the ground around them.
“Why do you come here, Jenny?” Mother asked, speaking in the certain way she did when sad. If only Jennie could talk, but she didn’t. Doctors said she would never speak, never be normal.
Mother rose and helped Jenny to her feet. “I cooked your favorites.”
As they walked away from the clearing, Jenny twisted back for one last look. “I’m sorry, faeries.” she whispered. “I’ll be back. Promise.”
“We did everything adults would do. What went wrong?”
― William Golding,
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.
“Children are natural Zen masters; their world is brand new in each and every moment.”
― John Bradshaw