It’s been a hard week, a hard year, a hard decade as violence and fear get more and more amped up.
Terror in Paris, terror in Beruit, terror in Mali, bombs taking down airplanes, drones targeting terrorists but killing civilians and on and on and on.
My hope is with the youth.
Today I worked with my 8th grade students on an art project which looks at the importance of trees to our world. They worked in groups to create a large painting expressing the concept of the Tree of Life, looking at the scientific, cultural and religious significance of trees. One group of three girls decided to have a large Christmas tree as the central image and use the ornaments to show images about that concept. I was so proud of them as they developed it, finding symbols for all the world’s religions to go in the ornaments and other symbols of peace and harmony. They told me that the world needs to learn how to live together as one and to stop hating each other for our differences.
After school I stopped at a local store to pick up some food. I had wandered over to the wine section where a little tasting was occurring of two French wines. A man, somewhere in his 60’s was selecting a French wine and commented to me that French wines are the best.
“You can never go wrong with a French wine,” I responded.
“Yes and now they are taking their country back” he said. He spoke with an accent so he was obviously not a native born American.
I was confused and asked for clarification as I did not realize that the French have lost anything in regards to their wine production.
His response was that France is 45% Muslim (true fact – 5 -10% of French citizens are Muslim) Next he claimed that the French will now get rid of all the Muslims as Islam is a religion of hate and war.
I responded with the thought that terrorists are created by poverty, lack of opportunity and mistreatment.
He spoke more words of hate.
I said I did not agree and walked away.
I was dumbfounded to hear him spouting his hateful and ignorant rhetoric., especially after my 8th grade students had expressed such compassion earlier in the day.
May the children keep their hearts open and lead us older folks to a better world. We are certainly giving them a very troubled one.