Tuesday, April 7, 2015

G is for the Importance of Giving a Damn!

     At schools all across Canada, there is a day set aside each year that has become known as "Pink Day".  It is a day when everyone, male and female, don pink clothing to symbolize their belief that discrimination according to gender is wrong.  Pink day had its origins in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  The story is that a male high school student wore a pink shirt to school and was subsequently assaulted by other boys who found his pink shirt (and the lifestyle that they assumed went with it) offensive.  The next day, as a means of showing support for their friend, dozens of people, boys and girls, all wore pink shirts to school.  The news coverage that resulted from this show of solidarity caused the Pink Day movement to be born and to spread across our country.   It has become a big part of anti-bullying education in all schools across Canada, as you can see from the video below.

     Obviously bullying is a bad thing and being opposed to it is a good thing.  However, Pink Day tends to bring out some mixed emotions for me. On the one hand, I adore the energy, the enthusiasm and the optimism possessed by all these terrific kids.  You can tell from the video that they are feeling the rapture and, having drank the Kool-aid, truly believe that they are changing the world.  How wonderful it is to see young people mobilized in such a positive way!  How beautiful their souls are as they, quite literally, wear their hearts on their sleeves.

     As an adult, my mixed emotions come into play as I wonder what is it that causes us to lose that fervent belief that we can change our world, too?  When do we begin the process of compromising with Life?  Why do so few of us fight that good fight our whole lives? When do we start to grow tired?

     I am as positive a person as there is but, even I, acknowledge that righting wrongs and lifting others up is burdensome at times.  There are moments when I wish for a break from the hectic pace of life so that I can retreat inside of myself and just be alone with my thoughts and my interests.  But, fortunately for me, one of the biggest benefits to being a teacher is that on those days when I am feeling pessimistic and lethargic and, worst of all, apathetic, I have the kids to turn to for help.  Their innocence is such that they don't yet realize that the world will very soon view them in sexual terms or that greed exists on a global scale or that mankind is a very violent species. What they think is that the world is awesome and that playing is fun and that I am a good person so, giddy up, let's go!

     Is it really as simple as the fact that we adults have lost the joy of being able to play and frolic and to imagine and daydream as a regular part of our day?  Would our world be better served if we stopped for a part of each day to paint or to putter in a potting shed or garden or to sing and dance? Why have we allowed our spirits to be waylaid by the petty and the pressing events that so dominate our time?  Why does playfulness hold no currency in our bottom-line world?

     I am my own best/worst example of this.  When I finished last year's A-to-Z Challenge, I was full of ambition and determination to continue writing daily, semi-weekly, consistently, whatever. But, a variety of events in my personal and professional life popped up and suddenly, I had stopped writing completely.  I was working harder than ever but feeling little satisfaction from my efforts.  I was listless and drifting. Where was my Joy?  But now that I am writing again, I feel more alive, more content....better.  For me, writing is play. Writing makes me feel young and vital and better connected with the world at large. I find my voice carries farther and resonates more when I write and that elevates my soul.  Perhaps, taking the time to write/play is the key for me to re-connecting with the much younger idealist who used to inhabit my body.

      There are many lessons that we, as adults, can learn from children.  Foremost, that childhood innocence and optimism is a powerful thing and that it has great value.  For that reason, I like my shirts and, my kool-aid, as pink as pink can be.  Happy Pink day, everyone!  Looks like I still give a damn!


My own daughters playing in leaves in our backyard.


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