by Christy Gualtieri
Recently, at a barbecue, a woman and I were getting acquainted. She was very friendly. She worked in the private sector, and briefly outlined what her duties were in her elevated position. Then it was her turn.
“What do you do?” she asked me.
“Oh, I’m just home with the kids,” I replied. In front of us, my daughter practiced her new trick of trying to move to a standing position from all fours. Without thinking about it, I reached a hand down to spot her.
The woman nodded thoughtfully and took a sip of her drink. “That’s the most important job,” she told me. We continued talking.
I normally don’t feel as though my job is that important, because honestly, it doesn’t feel important. There is nothing glamorous or incredibly awe-inspiring about chasing little ones around the house, making sure I’ve packed enough snacks for them or checking them for ticks after a day of playing outside. It doesn’t feel important to make sure they’re sitting in their seats for dinnertime, or picking up that dropped (okay, thrown) sippy cup from the floor for the hundredth time.
But it is important; and I’ve never felt that until this past week, when our country found itself once again suffering from the fallout of hatred, fear, confusion, and violence. Systemic oppression (and the laws which dictate it) are ideas, but they are ideas that have come from people. They are not natural laws. People invented them, no matter how long ago. And those people had mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters. Those people were fearful, undereducated, and led to believe that keeping one faction of the population down was the only way to go up. And that created a chain reaction that led to what happened in Louisiana, Missouri, and Texas last week.
It all matters. The love we feel at home and the work we do as parents, if you are one, matters immensely, because peace and love and change come from people, too. What our children learn will dictate what our world becomes tomorrow. And it always sounded so pithy to me before, so cliche, but last week I woke up to the fact that yes, it is important to work hard to raise decent, empathetic, caring children who will grow up to be adults that will work for justice, equality, and decency. Because there is no other way.
Deep down, we all want to be seen. We want love, too, and security and encouragement and all of those things. But we need to be seen to receive things. We need to see each other on a deeper level, too, one that transcends race or religion or economic status. But, funnily enough, sometimes we need to be retaught that, because what comes easy to us as children becomes more and more difficult to execute as adults.
So today, I challenge you to see others. Really see them. Wonder about them, about their lives. Try to find something about them that you connect with. See yourself in them. Seeing ourselves in others will start us on the path to seeing others as people, and we are all so strongly connected. See how much everyone desires peace, just as you desire it. And let’s work toward it, together.
Until next time, be well!
Christy Gualtieri is a freelance writer specializing in pop culture, religion, and motherhood. She lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and son, blogs at asinglehour.wordpress.com, and tweets @agapeflower117. Follow PghPsych on Facebook and Twitter for daily updates, inspirational quotes, articles, and different events and causes related to good mental health!