Monday, November 16, 2015

I'll Always Have Paris

It's been quiet in this space for too long, though I still have many photos and experiences to share. I promise I will get back here with them soon. For the moment though, I want to address the heartbreak in my favorite city. The photo above is the desktop wallpaper on my laptop, it is a glimpse of Paris that I dream often of returning to. Even still, in spite of recent events.

There has been much written about those events, addressing all different aspects. One of my all time favorite blogs has a truly beautiful post, on which I left a comment. It didn't cover every single thing I believe about the situation, the comment was too long as it stood, but it hit some important points about my personal experience and a suggestion I make every time something like this happens. It could certainly stand to be edited, maybe enlarged upon, but I just don't feel up to it. Instead, I'm going to give it a permanent home here, a tribute to my favorite city.

I have no illusions about my success as a parent. But in the wake of 9/11, I realized that the best thing I did as a mother was raise my two daughters not only to be strong independent females, but to be human beings as free from prejudice as I could make them. We moved around a lot and they met people of many races, cultures and religions before they were old enough to be influenced by external preconceived notions. So it did not occur to them to hate or despise on sight.

It is ignorance that makes these horrible deeds possible. It is easy to hate the unknown, to kill a faceless enemy. In my opinion, technology could make an enormous difference, and I have been saying this for years.

There are schools in the U.S. who use Skype to allow their students to meet and get to know students at schools in other countries. If this was more widespread, so that all students did this every year from pre-k on with schools in countries all over the world, then they would all grow up familiar with each other’s cultures, customs and religions. Let them develop individual penpal relationships.

Familiarity is the antidote to xenophobia. It’s hard to hate an entire country when you have friends there, it’s harder to drum up an army against it when so many of the people you are trying to recruit have friends there. Racism doesn’t fester when so many kids have grown up with friends of all different races. Religious prejudice would not be so widespread if children grew up learning how many beliefs they have in common, rather than what a few extremists choose to do.

The technology is available and it’s cheap. It can’t possibly be difficult to implement a program, and it would have such a positive impact in so many ways. I can’t imagine why it doesn’t already exist.

Evidence for its effectiveness is obvious just from the way the Internet has made the world so much smaller for those who have grown up with it. So many of them already have friends all over the world. Their numbers would grow exponentially if schools all over the world had these video partners.

As with so many things, our hope lies with future generations. But we could help them immensely by giving them the tools they need from childhood.

Credit to Artist 


  1. Beautiful thoughts! We can hope.

    1. Thanks! I know, and considering some of the things that have come to pass in the last few years that I never thought I'd see in my lifetime, I don't stop hoping anymore. :)


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