My kids have been driving me a little crazy lately, and much of it is down to lack of listening. Sometimes I say come here and they go there because they are trying it on, oh I mean asserting their independence and budding personalities… Whatever.
But often, they are just simply. not. listening. I’m there talking, and they are ignoring me, or more frustratingly still, starting vacantly in the other direction. When did my words lose their weight? When did they determine not listening was standard fare? I try to listen to them and lead by example- maybe I could do better? I thought we were raising polite children…
This has really started to grate; my patience for it is seriously waning. I’ve always tried to be quite even keeled with C & M, but lately, I feel like my fuse is shorter and I don’t like it. Flying off the handle when you’ve had enough is not leading by example.
Then take today, the result of the 2016 American Presidential election. Donald Trump will be the 45th American President. The world is disappointed, calling Americans nuts. A scarily large slice of the country has forfeited track record, morals and sense for headline promises and blatant bias (racism, misogyny, ignorance…). How can a man that publicly belittles women, makes a pass at a 10 year-old and intent on wanting to build a wall be our President? Friends and family Stateside are putting in bids for our guest room…
And it struck me. Across the country, people aren’t listening. Across the world, lots of us have stopped listening. At the risk of sounding like a preaching granny, we’re all chained to social media, we’re all victims of our modern interconnectivity, spoilt for irrelevant choice and not making enough effort to step back, live in the present, listen and learn. So many of us fall back on ideology instead, and it leads to some really batshitcrazy choices all over the world. Yesterday in the US, furore against ‘The Institution’ is that strong.
Here in my London home, I’m trying to calm down and be a good role model for my kids. To keep my cool, to show them how important it is to listen and respect. To show with a healthy mix of graft and passion, they can reach for the stars. Don’t roll your eyes at me British cynics! I am grateful the ‘American can do’ attitude runs through my veins…though at times latent, it’s always there in the background as a confidence boost when the going gets tough.
In the US, Hillary has been gracious in her defeat. There’s lots of talk from both sides about coming together and collaboration for the common good. It’s all a good show, but are our leaders finally ready to really work together, listen to different perspectives, actually compromise? Or will this Western superpower self destruct and send shockwaves around the world in the process.
And will all the ashamed Americans, of which there are MANY, be more inspired to become more proactive community citizens, hopefully educating and building wider solidarity in the process? Have we learned similar lessons here in the UK post Brexit? There’s more impetus than ever to tackle ‘movements’ of dissatisfaction shaking our countries to their very core.
The world is watching, and hopefully learning.
Come on people, let’s start listening to each other and make steps to put good into society. Cumulatively, we will make a difference.