You've got to be taught before it's too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You've got to be carefully taught!
South Pacific originally premiered on Broadway in 1949. These lyrics are such powerful words that are still so true 65 years later. Our children are blank slates at birth upon whom we make great impressions. Children come into the world loving, caring, and blind to the social categories that previous generations have created. It’s only when others tell them that skin color is problematic or someone’s sexual orientation is wrong that they begin to believe such untruths.
Recent events in Indiana and elsewhere continue to demonstrate that there are still plenty of haters in the world, and as Taylor Swift has duly noted, “haters gonna hate.” However, it’s never too late or too difficult for each of us as individuals to show love and acceptance rather than hatred and discrimination. As author Shakti Gawain writes, "Transformation begins on an individual level and moves out into the world." If all of us make changes as individuals, we’ll become role models for future generations who won’t be taught to hate. And if each of us changes individually, eventually the majority of our society will have changed as well. It’s a slow grass-roots way of bringing about change, but it’s very effective. Change begins within each of us.
© 2015 Elizabeth Galen, Ph.D., Green Heart Guidance, LLC