My mother (Jinni) always told us the truth. Widowed in her 30’s with three kids under six, she had to do it all—teach, discipline, love, guide. We learned to honor every word she said. We trusted her.
But what about Santa Claus? We believed in him because Jinni believed in magic. Was that lying? No. She was simply allowing us to live some dreams—the tooth fairy, Santa. But because we trusted her, knew she would never abandon us—this childhood magic was logical. IT FELT RIGHT.
And consider this: the three of us knew about death. It lived with us in the form of a photo of our father—ever-present in our living room. Friends, cousins—they all had fathers. We did not. But we had Jinni.
If she got angry or cried ( she was human) or revealed that yes she was the tooth fairy—we accepted that. Jinni was home, life, security. Jinni was truth.
THE WORLD OF THE STORY…
And we did walk out our front door to encounter the world: how our friends and neighbors lived, that they had fathers, dogs, newer cars; that some had country club memberships and took vacations. WE READ. We read non-fiction and fiction. Reading provided a pathway to learn about the world. Snug in the corner of the couch, I could explore places beyond my house on Wood Street.
So a question: have you, READER, and many others been gob-smacked by learning how others lived: in an apartment in New York City with a nanny to care for them, their parents spending months abroad; in a trailer in South Dakota where food is scare and education the only way to get away; on a farm in Iowa or Alabama where even in the 60’s, 70’s, outhouses were plumbing and going to school meant getting farm chores done between 5 and 6 before a long school bus ride; or in a large home on Lake Michigan in Lake Forest, Illinois, with a chauffeur who drove you to school.
We weren’t all raised on Elm Street or Main Street. But because of READING, and often because of excellent elementary and secondary teachers, our world opened up. How did that affect me, my brothers, all of us? Back to Jinni.
WHAT’S GOING ON AT HOME, AT SCHOOL
Because of Jinni and extended family: teachers, the neighborhood—we knew we were being given real, actual truthful information. We saw that we were fortunate, that we were BLESSED even though we didn’t have some things that others had.
Michelle Obama in her recent biography BECOMING writes fervently that she grew to understand the world outside of South Shore (in Chicago) because truth was always spoken within the walls of her home. Some of her cousins didn’t open their arms as freely to that world as Michelle, whose mother always inspired her to move forward, to believe in herself, to aspire to whatever she wanted to be despite the negatives she did encounter. How to BECOME? Seek goals, work hard, open mind and soul to LIFE IN THIS WORLD.
BELIEVE IN: the truth will set you free, which can have a major basis in society. Because when someone lies to you, doesn’t tell you the STRAIGHT STORY, confusion will reign. You will begin to mistrust, to feel hurt.
- How many of you have had an employer promise you a raise or better position only to skip over you; or a coach making you believe you’ll be shortstop when you find yourself on the bench.
- Of course, the worst scenario we have seen in recent years is the innocent boy or girl student who trusts an adult teacher, leader or priest only to have that person sexually abuse them. THERE IS NO TRUTH IN THAT. Children and young adults have been made to distrust EVERYONE after such an experience. They are then chained. They are not set free.
The latter did not happen to me. I was again fortunate. All of us have had some disappointments that stem from beliefs that we will rise to the top. That’s part of life. But it should not be all of life in our free society. I believe in continuing to have goals and to always believe in MY BECOMING.
WHAT’S HAPPENING NOW…
It’s when SOCIETY accepts the liar, promotes the liar, the abuser, the cheater, that little by little we all lose hope. It’s like JINNI (truth) has abandoned us, run off with some guy. left us alone, tipped our world upside down.
Okay, now I’m using JINNI as a metaphor. But what I’m saying is that in our country today we are being LIED TO, and many of our dreams are being messed with. Little by little we are being abandoned by our government. DON’T LIE TO ME. DON’T CHEAT ON ME. DON’T TAKE AWAY WHAT I HAD: healthcare, my voting rights, my right to own a home, to have a steady income that can feed my family. DON’T LIE TO ME.
ABHOR LIES AND SEEK THE TRUTH
So if your life reflects some of these changes, what do we do?
- The only cure is love and empathy.
- It’s recapturing basic values and trust.
- It’s pulling in those you love in a tight embrace.
- It’s telling the truth and teaching that truth to your children and grandchildren.
- It’s having close conversations with your friends, with your neighbors.
- And if those neighbors have sought the other side, if they’ve bought into the lies and are still clinging to the purveyor of those lies, it’s giving even more of your own kindness. MAKING THAT YOUR TRUTH.
FINAL THOUGHTS…I’m not messing around here. These are critical times. My husband and I agree, thank God, on what is happening. We are in love. Yet each one of us needs to spread that love to others, reclaim a time when we were not so divided, when good things like education, libraries, Special Olympics and healthcare were not taken away or diminished and only allowed to a few.
WE CAN ALWAYS DO BETTER.
WE CAN ALWAYS GO TO KINDNESS AND EMPATHY.
I know I say this over and over, but when on Twitter some other crazy is yelling and swearing at a minority “Just for fun”–that has to stop. Elm Street might be more diversified, but it’s still the place I want to live. RIGHT NOW!
Thanks to PINTEREST Katie Slaby Artwork