I watched a video a while back of a little girl about 6 or 7 years old, who had been showered with so many gifts for her birthday that she was literally surrounded by them. Her family gathered around her with excitement. Each family member was lobbying for her to open them. There were shouts of “open the really big one. No, open mine. Go for the small one, good things come in small packages.” Immersed in both the excitement and the pressure she stood still, looked around at the mountain of boxes, and then squealed “so many choices what should I do mom?” Her mother thought for a few seconds and then responded “choose the one you would really like to open the most and point it out, her daughter quickly grabbed the largest present, and then her mother said, “now choose differently.”
This sent me thinking about this 2021 opportunity that we have been presented with. We all have so many choices before us and many of us are wanting to reach for what we want the most. From many, I have heard the strong desire to return to normal or to have a normal year or to be able to do the things I was doing before all this 2020 chaos happened.
To each of us, I’d like to offer up my own spin on the mother’s wise words to her daughter… “Choose Differently.”
In doing so, we could choose to let this be the year that we act on the fact that: “Normal” was never equitable.
The push, push, push we made for our children to focus so hard on academics and grades was never going to make them whole and truly successful, because their social and emotional well-being was being sorely neglected.
We need to honor the people whose ancient practices have been making money for people outside of those cultures (i.e. yoga, restorative justice circles, martial arts) by intentionally bringing them into the mainstream or sharing the wealth by helping to fund their practices while owning up to the fact that merely mentioning where these practices originated from, is not the same as admitting that you have been capitalizing on them and cutting out the people and faces that have and are living these practices in order to make a profit.
Institutionalized Racism is at the core of so much injustice in the world and we must fully educate ourselves and move our actions beyond writing a check or being kind to everyone. Own up! Speak up! Push for this country to pay up what is owed!
We must listen to and follow the lead of marginalized voices that have traditionally been not believed or silenced. We must learn why diversity does not mean the displacement of White people, but rather opens the door for everyone being able to educate themselves and feed and house themselves and their families.
Included in marginalized voices are those of our children. Our children have a lot on their minds and therefore a lot to contribute to the change that needs to happen so that their lives can be made better. Let this be the year that we elevate their voices at even younger ages.
LGBTQIA lives are not mistakes that need to be corrected and judged but rather thought about and fought for as we take for granted the privilege of holding hands in public, having job protection, getting married and not being harmed or killed for who we are (for those who have that particular privilege). While we all have choices, far too many of us have less choices or even less good choices to choose from.
Creating a world where a wealth of good choices are available for all will create monumental change.
Sitting around complaining, posting, hating on or even agreeing with me or downplaying the impact that even small actions on your part can make in creating an equitable, loving, safe, and beautiful society does nothing to make anyone’s life better.
The truth is 2021 is just a new year like any other year that has come and gone. We can choose to ride it out and fight to have and make our usual choices or we can all choose differently.
What will you do with your choices?
Happy New Year!
P.S. The waitlist for the On the Matter of Race Level 1 Program opens up for interview spots on February 1st. You can get on the Waitlist here.