Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Unintended

I was raised to believe that people are inherently good. Not that their actions are always good or even their intentions, but that deep down people were at their core meant to be good to one another, to their surroundings, to everything.

I grew up in a Unitarian Universalist church before the guiding principles were adopted, but what I absorbed while painting the basement bathrooms in our little fellowship and by watching the lives of the people of the church was that people had inherent worth and dignity. Worth simply for existing, for being put together by the elements of the earth and sky and water, and dignity because they traveled this earth as humans. 

This what I taught my own children and many other children, too, as they grew up in the UU church; that all were inherently worthy. 

As I witness Donald Trump bluster over all decent American core values there are times I have to tune out the stories, close social media and look away from some exchanges.  My #YesAllWomen story isn't as bad as some, not as bad as many, really. But as I am away from regular life at a work gathering, I have a little space to think. For some people, is the message that "all are worthy, people are good" a hindrance to the ability to say "nope, this is not OK, I'm out?"

Maybe it's only me, maybe the Midwestern "oh well, I never mean to bother" ethic that's pounded in our brains even before our soft spot closes makes us vulnerable to people with dark motives. Maybe I'm just making it up, overblowing it, over thinking it. Just being sensitive. 

Or maybe not. Maybe teaching our children to say "oh hell, no" and get out is a great skill. Maybe giving tools to identify toxic people and techniques that are used to control and take advantage of people is a good idea.

Maybe a simple message isn't enough. Maybe it's not even all that good.

Maybe what I was taught, and what I then taught isn't enough. 

Maybe there is a better way. 

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