Have you ever told your child to stop yelling, then five minutes later you’re yelling?
How about told them to be respectful of their elders, then shortly after you find yourself badmouthing your elders?
It’s a pretty rotten feeling, isn’t it – breaking your own rules. It sets a pretty bad example.
What about the big name politician or preacher who stands for solid family values, then gets found out for having affairs? They’re unable to live up to their own lofty rules they wanted to create.
It’s infuriating when someone sets rules (especially for someone else) when they themselves don’t follow them. It certainly infuriates me.
There’s a lot of people now wanting to create a lot of rules, laws and regulations. Only a few years ago I got a letter from my children’s pre-school. It informed me that the local council will now be regulating what the children’s lunch is wrapped in!
You’ve probably heard a lot of talk about diversity. Heard slogans like ‘diversity is our strength’. Maybe you’ve heard an employer wanting to employ a more diverse workforce. You might have heard of diversity targets or quotas. Probably the most common one you hear is increasing the representation of women on company boards and senior management positions. Some people are even arguing that this should be legislated, with companies having to report what they are doing to encourage women into senior leadership and board positions. Am I saying women in senior management and boards is a bad thing? Certainly not! As an interesting side note, you never hear anyone arguing for women to be working down mines or driving trucks at the same rate as men. Inversely, I’ve never ever ever heard of anyone arguing for quotas for men to be equally represented in nursing or teaching. I’ll make a generalised assumption here and say that it is the more progressive section of our society arguing for an increase (and legislation) in women in senior leadership and board positions.
There’s also a concurrent movement happening in relation to the recognition of a range of sexual attractions and gender identities. The most recent big thing to happen in Australia is legislation passing to allow same-sex couples to marry. Some Australian states currently have legislation in place, or are considering legislation to allow a person to change their gender identity on their birth certificate. These rules differ from state to state. In most states that have changed this law, there needs to be medical evidence of a change of gender, for example, evidence of gender reassignment surgery. There is consideration to change the law in Queensland allowing a person to change their gender on their birth certificate based on their feelings. That is, a person can update their gender on their birth certificate without any other evidence. A man can simply identify as a woman, but continue to live as they were without any outward or inward changes and request to have his (her!) gender on their birth certificate changed. I’ll again make a generalised assumption here and say that these and similar changes have been championed by the more progressive leaning in our society.
The most common responses you hear from people at the sound of this is something along the lines of “I don’t want a man who thinks he’s a woman in the toilets with my wife/girlfriend/mother/daughter”. Very valid concerns indeed. I also want to convey my sincerest desire that no one should be legally discriminated, bullied or harassed based on their gender identity or sexual attractions. Secondly, my sincerest thoughts genuinely extend to people who have a schism between their biological identity and their truly held belief that it doesn’t represent the gender they identify with. I personally can’t imagine how difficult it would be to wrestle with competing identities, societal expectations and discrimination.
So now, we have the more progressive leaning in our society arguing for an increase in women in senior leadership and board positions, including legislating for organisations to increase the representation of women in these positions. We also have the more progressive leaning in our society arguing (successfully, in some states) that gender is fluid and a biological fact on a birth certificate can be changed, and changed based on a feeling. If legislation proposed in Queensland is passed, it would be possible for a man simply to change his/her birth certificate to a woman based on their current feelings.
Let’s follow this through to some not-impossible real world implications. Keep in mind that male-to-female athletes have started to compete in women’s teams, often dominating their biologically women competitors in the process. A company wants to increase the representation of women at a particular level of seniority and puts measures in place to mentor and recruit female employees into those roles. It would not be impossible for a man in Queensland to feel he was a bit womanly, change his legal birth certificate to female and apply for those roles. The company would not be able to prevent him from applying based on his gender, as he is now legally a she. It’s possible that his nomination and acceptance means a more qualified, talented or motivated woman is unable to attend. It’s not impossible.
I prefaced this article based on living up to the rules you create. Living up to the laws you create. Have you noticed laws often have the reverse impact, or require more laws to counteract the negative impacts of those laws. A recent example in Australia is laws being updated that GST (essentially, our sales tax) to be applied to internet purchases from places like Amazon in the US. It was expected that this would net a massive increases in tax revenue. You know what happened? Amazon US now simply refuses to ship goods to Australia. No more taxes for Malcolm!
If you put a law in place to prevent discrimination against women, I promise you that before too long, people who identify as intersex will want a law to prevent discrimination against them. If you put a law in place to prevent people being nasty to others because of their race, gender or beliefs, you might be able to prosecute a few idiots who sprout off unkind things. What you will achieve is not more tolerance or diversity, but less people willing to talk openly and honestly about genuine concerns they have. If you put a law in place saying that a particular section of society can have special access to a program, support or job, two things will happen. Firstly, more people will suddenly identify with that section of society to gain access to that particular program, support or job. Secondly, there will be another cohort of society that thinks they are equally or more deserving of special access to their own programs, supports or jobs and they will want legislation to support that.
Laws designed to help a particular group (or punish another) inevitably lead to those helped being the ones that find themselves at the rough hand of the law they created when a new, more discriminated group comes along. The early feminists had great success breaking down barriers, seeing women enter the workforce, gaining the vote, having more reproductive rights. The early feminists were generally white women from the middle and upper classes. The next feminists recognised that it wasn’t just white women being oppressed, but it was also women of colour. The feminists realised that white women were actually quite privileged, and the feminist women of colour suddenly saw them as the enemy. White feminism became bad, because they only had rights because of their privilege. Now, we have some feminists argue that straight white and women of colour are the privileged ones, and it is the women who have differing sexual attractions or gender identities are the ones that are really downtrodden. It’s those nasty heterosexual white and women of colour feminists that are privileged, because heterosexuality is oppressive. This isn’t nonsense. This is happening now.
The government can’t legislate your problems away. It can’t validate you – not in a lasting, permanent way. If you play the victim, you’ll always be the victim, even when greater victims come along and claim you’re the oppressor.
Always be careful about the laws you want made. You might have to live up to them one day.
We hear a lot about political correctness. You’ve probably heard people say things like ‘oh, that’s not politically correct’, or ‘that wasn’t a very politically correct thing to say’. It pervades almost every area of our lives – in some areas more than others.
You’ve probably also heard the saying ‘manners maketh the man’. I know I certainly heard it growing up. Manners were drummed into me from a very early age. Things like standing when an elder entered the room, opening the door for a lady, taking my hat off inside, table manners, conversational manners – I could go on. I suspect for many in my demographic this was the case. I’ve recounted a story before of a family friend, a doctor and true gentleman who referred to my grandmother always as ‘Mrs Vidins’, in the most respectful, humble way. His manners were always impeccable.
I’m sure you’ve come across people who have fantastic manners. The inverse is probably true too. I’ve certainly met people who come across as disgusting pigs – foul mouthed, disrespectful boors.
Political correctness is the idea that you are restrained by an outward force – a cultural norm, a policy, a coercive power. It coerces you to not say something, or do something, in the name of ‘offending’ someone, regardless of the truth or accuracy of the message. You may have bitten your tongue sometimes because you were worried, or feared about the repercussions of your words. I’ll give some examples. You might have wanted to question the effectiveness of our past, or current refugee processes, but didn’t because you were concerned about being called a racist. You may have wanted to raise your thoughts on same-sex marriage, but didn’t because you knew you’d be labelled a homophobe. Perhaps you had questions on the millions of dollars that were being spent on our indigenous brothers and sisters, without any identifiable increases in health, education, workplace participation or decreases in violence and abuse, but didn’t because you knew you’d be labelled as a hater.
It’s important to pause at this stage, because I’m sure some will think I’m pointing the finger at progressive, or left-wing political correctness. If you’re thinking that, you’re correct, I am. I’ve noticed the most intolerance has come from the left in our present age. It comes in the form of bullying, of the threat of legal action (s18c, anyone?), of having your businesses targeted (refusing to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding). It even comes in the form of opposing a whole nation (the anti-Israel, anti-Jewish Boycott, Divestment & Sanction (BDS) movement). We see our politicians take a politically correct line when talking about terrorism. How often have you heard a prominent politician say a terrorist atrocity undertaken by a Muslim in the name of Allah has nothing to do with Islam? It’s like saying a drunk driver hitting and killing someone on the road has nothing to do with alcohol. Are all Muslims terrorists? OF COURSE NOT! Are all drunks likely to get behind the wheel and be a danger on the road? OF COURSE NOT! Political correctness is that outside force preventing you from speaking the truth, asking a question or voicing a concern because it may cause an offence, be taken the wrong way or cause a retaliation. It’s external.
Manners, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. The total opposite, in fact.
Manners come from a place of inner strength, a place of confidence. Manners isn’t cowardice, oh no. Manners, which goes hand in hand with self-restraint, comes from a place of steadfast conviction. Manners give you the confidence to articulate, not as a reaction, but as a confident position of concrete values. Manners comes from a place of seeking to understand first, to inquire, to test and to challenge, wanting the best, even if that means discomfort during the process.
Manners is an absolute inner process that regulates, analyses, tests and speaks from a place of conviction, with conviction. It comes from a place of respect – self-respect first, then respect for others. Manners is the practice of holding back, not out of fear of retaliation, but from understanding there is no point in an argument for the sake of an argument.
Political correctness is a fear that your words, or some actions will have dire ramifications either directly, or from a third party. Political correctness is suppressing the truth out of fear of retaliation. Despite what some argue, there are truths. There are universal truths. Biological truths. Scientific truths. Spiritual truths. Truths that have real implications for here, and the hereafter.
Manners always seeks the best, even when there is disagreement. It’s the dignified silence in the face of howled insults. Manners is the confidence of truth, spoken in earnest respect. It’s not a cowered, timid mumble. It’s not a brash bulldozer of anger.
Political correctness seeks to crush. It seeks to paint over truth with lies. It seeks to silence. It hates dissent. It fears the thinker. It scoffs at the one confident in truth. Political correctness employs all means necessary – shame, legislation, violence to silence and intimidate anything outside the ‘correct’ narrative. It uses name calling, lies, gross distortions and hatred to plough over and rip up. Political correctness hates free speech, free thought and debate. Intolerance is its mandate, coercion is its goal. It does it for power, for powers sake. It is never satisfied with enough.
Manners seeks to edify the individual. It seeks to understand, it seeks the truth, it proclaims what is right. Manners is the respectful debate of ideas. It’s the safe harbour where ideas flourish, where the individual is nourished. Manners come from a place of confidence, it extends the hand of respect. Manners doesn’t compromise the truth, and confidently invites others to seek it.
Let me tell you this. We need more people with manners, across the spectrum of ideas, ideals and thoughts. We absolutely need less political correctness. Next time you have a choice when it comes to the truth, what will you do? Will you cower to political correctness, or will you use your manners to confidently proclaim what is right?
Writer’s note: I wrote this not to advocate any position, or to say anything in particular. It’s simply a collection of observations, stories, hushed chats and whispers. There’s stories in here that aren’t my own, and it’s certainly not my intention to sound like I’m advocating a position. It’s in a minor key, it’s a bundle of observations and a collection of mumbles.
Bekka’s turning 18, coming of age, party at mum and dads. Scotty spins the tunes and dad throws up the fairy lights, mum caters to fill teenage stomachs – it’ll come up in the front paddock in a few hours anyway.
Mason’s got a new truck, lifted with an LED bar light to be seen from space. He’s the first to arrive at this festive event, and his country dimples cover valleys of insecurity. Cowboy hat bent at the front, ma and pa secretly hope he’d turn his eyes towards their Bek – if only they knew.
Stace, Maria and Bree tumble out of someone’s back seat, pre-loaded. Dressed to the nines, their heels sink into soft country soil, squealing with each squelch, their lives work to snob you off.
Jase makes an entrance, circle work in his beat up ute. The joker, always the laugh. Bekka’s beau, the half bottle of cheap bourbon held by it’s neck. He’s the joker, but she’s got a creeping suspicion the joke’s on him. 20 years old, on the same an hour, with no prospects of increase.
Family comes, smiles abound. Uncle Frank and Aunt Nina, there’s grandma and gramps. Cousins of all ages. Dad playfully grabs Danny in a headlock, trying to explain that his sodomite son is merely creative, like you can try to explain the gay away. Thanks dad, but they both grieve, unable to move past recent revelations.
Raye and Chrissy sit in the tray of Mason’s ute, necking cheap vodka straight from the bottle. He could have both in a heartbeat, but his sights are set on other targets, perhaps tonight he’ll pipe up the confidence to tell her.
Dwayne sings along to the country ditties, he’s unusually talented that way. Laughing off the compliments, he wonders how life might be different if not yoked with three generations of expectation breathing down his neck. Still, he hums along, wondering, even for a second, if things were different.
Kal, as everyone agrees, is classic wife material, the mother hen of the group. She chats CWA with mum, half an eye on Danny, blissfully unaware he’ll make no woman honest. She mistakes his compliments for flirting, and the thought crosses his mind that perhaps he could fake it, until he made it.
Speeches, and mum and dad praise their perfect Bekka. She spies Jase, he’s getting amorous with Raye, and way too close to his bourbon. She pats her tummy – a week late, and she wonders how daddy will react if she breaks the news to him.
And the party continues, and the fire crackles. They all continue to live their lives together, all in secret.
Picture from https://www.google.com.au/imgres?imgurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.lovethispic.com%2Fuploaded_images%2F108685-Bonfire-Party.jpg&imgrefurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.lovethispic.com%2Fimage%2F108685%2Fbonfire-party&docid=2BomfXY3f8L2kM&tbnid=ahC-QHXakHIw-M%3A&vet=1&w=500&h=332&bih=708&biw=1517&q=teenagers%20party%20bonfire&ved=0ahUKEwiY4ePVj7_SAhVrrFQKHcKHDpgQMwhFKCMwIw&iact=mrc&uact=8#h=332&imgrc=ahC-QHXakHIw-M:&vet=1&w=500
I expect this post will raise the ire of some of my more conservative readers, and perhaps generate some debate.
First up, I’m not going to debate the morality of people who have same-sex attraction, neither am I going to delve into the alphabet of sexual identities.
Same-sex parenting was again brought to the forefront of the media recently with iconic Italian designers Dolce and Gabbana expressing that there is only one family – a man, a woman and children. Elton John quickly expressed outrage over these comments, as did many progressive commentators.
The debate about Same-Sex couples revolves around ideas such as: should be able to adopt, utilise IVF and have the same legal rights as ‘traditional’ parents. It focuses on equal rights for all. I totally get this. One of the prevailing arguments used by supporters of Same-Sex couples having children is that Same-Sex couples make just as good parents. I’ve got no doubt on the parenting ability of Same-Sex couples, the love they can provide their children and the resources, time and emotional energy they so evidently give their children.
There is a risk, at this point, to refer to the recent story of a Same-Sex couple here in Australia that adopted a dear child and did unspeakable crimes to him, then use this story as an argument against Same-Sex parenting. Sadly, and disgustingly, child abuse favors no sexual orientation, belief system or set of ideals. It is an insidious crime that should not be tolerated in any situation.
It would be naive to think that legislation will stop or encourage Same-Sex parenting – certainly not in a Western democracy. Indeed, ISIS are taking a more hardline approach to homosexuality, and, as a side note, I often wonder why ‘progressives’ stand up for this evil ideology. You don’t need a science degree to figure out how babies are made. I don’t want to sound crass, but it isn’t particularly hard for Same-Sex parents to find a kindred couple (or individual) to donate sperm or a womb to produce a baby. There are still legalities involved, but to put it pragmatically, if a Same-Sex couple wanted to have a family, the ‘mechanics’ of it really isn’t that hard.
My views of Same-Sex marriage and parenting have changed somewhat over the years. Some have argued that permitting Same-Sex marriage and parenting is a slippery slope to all kinds of depravity. Truly, I think the depravity has been there since day dot. It’s just out in the open now. If a couple, regardless of sexual identity wants to marry, I have to be honest – it really does not impact me. Same as Same-Sex couples that want to have children. Does it really impact me? Honestly – no.
Here’s what I do think, however. I’ve written before on how my dad died when I was 6. I’m blessed to have a wonderful, loving mum and to have a step-dad that I love, respect and honour. He’s been a real rock for me in many times of woe. Here’s the rub, for me at least. As great as my step-dad is, there’s a part of me that longs to see my dad again. To share my life with, to laugh, love and be with.
Children of Same-Sex relationships, I’m sure, grow up to be happy, stable, productive members of society. I can’t help think, however, that a child misses out by not knowing their mum or dad, like a hole in their heart, that despite how much love, attention, support and goodness they get from other sources, still has a biological-parent shaped hole that they want filled.
There are people that I love, respect and worship with that are ardently against Same-Sex marriage and parenting. I understand their arguments, passions, thoughts and feelings. Honestly, I don’t begrudge them either. I expect they may take exception to what I’ve written.
Personally, I believe that the optimal way of ‘doing family’ is a child having married hetro-sexual parents, living together, working towards a shared set of values who invest in their marriage and their children. Anyone who has been in any type of relationship knows that a long term, committed relationship is hard yakka. Really hard. You don’t need to look far to see the terrible impacts of broken families.
I’ve found when you attack an idea, a person, or a way of life, it seems to galvanize those who you attack. You only need to look at the likes of Fred Nile – his stance against Same-Sex marriage seems to have strengthened his opponents. If you believe that your way of life is the optimal way – the ideal, shouldn’t the results speak for themselves?
Supporters of traditional marriage should be selling the benefits of marriage, not attacking detractors of it. Let your marriage and family be an example of love, grace, support and shared values, not a platform for condemnation. Oscar Wilde once said “Wickedness is the name we give to the curious attractiveness of others”. Certainly, demonizing a particular way of doing marriage and parenting will only support the curious attractiveness of it, not prevent it.
I’ve said before that you can’t legislate against an idea, ideology or opinion. You can legislate against a behavior (with limited success), but not ideas.
Family is one of the most important things in the world – I think we can all agree on that. If you think and believe that you have the ‘best’ way of doing family, be an example in your community. Not as a ‘holier than thou’ Flanders type family, but a real family. Get alongside families (of any colour, shape or description) in your community and support them in love. Be a family that includes, not excludes. Be a family that loves, not loathes. Be a family that shines light, not casts darkness.
I suspect that it is only a matter of time before there is no legal impediments for Same-Sex couples to marry and have children. You can sign petitions, write letters, like Facebook pages, but honestly, I suspect that it’s not going to make a whole lot of difference. Here’s where you can make a difference – with the people you work with. Your neighbors. The families at school. The individuals. As far as I know, there’s no law against being the best example of the family model you believe in – warts and all.
Marriage, family and parenting is hard. There’s always going to be people that do it in REALLY different ways to you – ways you probably won’t agree with. I’m a true believer that kindness wins over judgement any day. I truly believe that if you model, in love, what you believe is the optimal type of family, people will be drawn to it, not repelled by it. Love draws in, not casts away. Everyone is on their own journey – if you believe in God and believe his ways are right and true, his Holy Spirit will guide you, and those around you, to holiness. Pray for the families in your community, for the strength to love them in a way that they need.
Be the light in your communities. Be the best family – the family that loves, supports, guides. The family that’s honest in it’s struggles and open with it’s triumphs.
That will influence your community more than any legislation can.
Pic from http://cdn04.cdn.justjared.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/john-fam/elton-john-david-furniss-family-trip-with-zachary-elijah-03.jpg
My Pop often recalls a story of his younger years, when he joined the Air Force. Before enlisting, his Sunday School teacher gave him some sage advice. He told my Pop:
“Roy, nail your colours to the pole, and fly them high”
His Sunday School teacher was encouraging my Pop to stand fast to his faith, his morality, his beliefs. On the first night in training, surrounded by all his new mates, my Pop knelt by his bed, closed his eyes and prayed. To this day, he tells me he honestly can’t remember what he prayed for – he just prayed!
His daily prayers continued through training, his comrades got used to this routine and would respect my Pop for nailing his colours to the pole, and flying them high. In fact, one day one of his superiors was giving him a bit of stick for his faith and praying – to which his mates gathered around him and told the superior to back off!
“Nail your colours to the pole, and fly them high”.
Why do I tell this anecdote?
I read in todays local rag that our Council will be flying the Rainbow Flag on top of the City Council building. For the un-initiated, the Rainbow Flag is a calling point for Gay, Lesbian, Queer, Transexual, Bisexual (essentially, non-hetrosexual) people. This lobby have ‘pressured’ the Council to fly this flag on the Council building to mark International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia. The story tells that our Lord Mayor resisted similar calls last year, but has relented this year.
I believe a city, a state and a nation should rally around the flag. It should be a unifying point. A rallying point.
Here me out – this blog isn’t against any particular sexual identity, it’s not a stand against tolerance or understanding. I’m not anti-inclusiveness.
Here in Australia, specifically New South Wales and Queensland, we have a ‘State of Origin’ football match. Traditionally, the losing state flies the winning states flag on either the Sydney Harbour Bridge or Story Bridge for a day after the final game. It’s a bit of fun, it shows friendly rivalry and lumps a heap of shame upon the losing team!
When an army invades territory, it plants a flag, indicating the territory has been overtaken. We are seeing this almost every day in the Middle East, with the evil empire ISIS stomping across that barren land.
When I see any group (a sexual identity, a religious group, a group of supposed victims) fly their flag on a Government building, the flag that is flying becomes a point of division, not a point of unity.
It tells me that, in this case, the Government is NOT nailing their own colours to the pole and they are NOT flying them high. It’s siding with a particular group, a particular cause, a particular people – not the whole electorate they have sworn to represent.
You might not ‘agree’ with the Flag. Our own Australian flag holds the insignia of the United Kingdom. Many terrible things have happened under our flag, but many great things have happened, too.
I don’t often agree with the decisions our government makes (from both sides of the spectrum), but I do believe in Australia. I believe in Queensland (the Promised Land!!). I love Brisbane. But I’m proud that our Government buildings fly their respective flags. You might scoff, but the Government is responsible for the decisions it makes under the flag. Are ‘designated victim groups’ responsible for Government decisions made in Government buildings? Not on your nelly!
This silly business of flying the Rainbow Flag on a Government Building does not promote a cause. It promotes a victim mentality and waves a flag of exclusiveness, not inclusiveness. A cause may be noble and good, but it’s no excuse to fly an alternative flag on a Government building.
It might start with a Rainbow Flag, but when will the next ‘designated victim group’ want to fly their flag on our Government buildings?
In Australia, we still have some free speech available. If you want to fly a Rainbow Flag (or an ISIS Flag, or a Swastika, or a foreign national flag), you’re free to do that on your own. Push your own barrel.
Don’t waste my Governments time on ‘symbolic’ gestures, wasting resources on your own cause.
I’m proud of my country, my state and my cities flag. That’s the only one I want flying on my Government buildings. I want it flying high, and I want it flying proud.
One of the joys of lego is creating. Building up. Making new adventures. If you’ve read my blog before, this isn’t the first time I’ve talked about lego.
Recently, we had friends over and the children played with the Lego. Through the play, it was evident that they were not building up. They were tearing down. In fact, they had taken all the tires of the wheels and broken most of the already made models. They took joy in tearing down, not building up.
Needless to say, I was very upset.
Any child who builds lego will attest to the joy in creating the model. Of following the instructions and seeing a mess of colorful blocks turn out to be a building, a space-ship, a school or truck. Sometimes hours are spent building a model, each intricate piece added to the ever-evolving model.
Often, once a model is built, it is just admired. It might be put on a shelf or cabinet and just admired. It just seems so – special, especially if it is the first model your child has built.
Over time, the model is played with. It is very carefully taken off the shelf, enjoyed, taken pride over. Sometimes a piece here or there will break off, and it is carefully restored.
As it happens with lego, it does end up breaking in some way. I have a box of lego at my parents, some of it is over twenty years old. Absolutely none of the original models stand – now each time that lego is brought out, it’s a new adventure.
The joy is still in the building up. Finding the perfect piece to make the castle, the speedboat or the stable. Pouring over thousands of pieces for that one very bit that will build up the model.
You see, building up lego is like building up a soul. It’s like building up a person. It takes time. It takes patience, but once you’ve built something up, it is beautiful to behold. Have you ever seen a family who invests time, energy and love into each other? It is a beautiful thing to behold. Each family member is invested in building each other up, and it shows.
Even the best person goes through rough times. You could even argue the reverse – rough times can build wonderful people. I know in my own life, some of the people that have impacted me the most are those who have faced terrible adversity are the most interesting, strong, amazing people.
Like lego, the soul can be destroyed in an instant. A model can be smashed on the ground, treated roughly, have bits broken off it. A soul can be mishandled, bruised, even smashed. Harsh words, abuse, neglect, cruelty can all smash a soul. I can have a box of smashed lego. Guess what happens to it? Nothing. It stays broken. It stays smashed, incomplete, unusable, un-enjoyable. What can be done with a box of smashed lego, especially if you no longer have the instructions? You could leave it broken, or you could create something new, something beautiful.
Unlike a box of smashed lego, we can choose to restore our soul. We can find the broken pieces of our heart, scattered at the bottom of a box and create something new. It will never be the same as the original. The thing with lego boxes, and with life, is you pick up new things. Now, I’m speaking as a boy here but your medieval castle can have a moat complete with jet-powered speedboats and friggin’ lazers to obliterate the enemy, unlike the crappy cannons they original castle had.
Look around you. Everyone around you will have a broken soul. Everyone carries around disappointments, brokenness, hurts and pain. Everyone, including you, needs the lego model of a soul re-built.
So what are you going to do? Are you going to use your words, your actions and your intent to break someones soul, or are you going to be one that sees the brokeness in others and looks to help put some pieces back? Are you going to use your words and your actions to add friggin’ lazers to their castle, or are you going to pull the tires off their broken wheels?
There was a lot of hoo-haa last week after Julie Bishop’s Press Club address where she declared that she wasn’t a feminist. A (predictable) chorus of feminist voices went on the attack against Bishop, venting their anger that she was a feminist, she wasn’t a feminist, she isn’t a real woman, she only got where she is because she does not have kids blah blah blah.
A similar voice has been heard recently in America with the mid-term elections, where at least two (that I know of) black Republican senators were voted into power in traditionally ‘white’ or ‘Southern’ electorates. When quizzed about how they felt about being voted in as ‘black’ senators, they both responded that their electorates did not vote them in because of their colour. They were voted in because of policy, hard work and pragmatism. I’m sure pundits could argue both ways on those claims – the interesting thing is how both these candidates focused on a Martin Luther approach, rather than the vouge affirmative action approach.
Julie Bishop, Mia Love and Tim Scott (the latter two were the abovementioned senators) all have detractors seeming to sing from the same songbook. Whilst Bishop does not sing from the Feminist songbook, or Love and Scott aren’t promoting the politics of race, their detractors argue that they are still feminist and benefiting from affirmative action, because of all the hard work that feminists and race politics have done before them.
I don’t want to detract from the inarguable fact that, and quoting Luther King, all men (and women!) are created equal. I’m not hear to argue that men or women or blacks or Asians or Arabs or Jews or Aussies or anyone can or can’t do a particular job, follow a particular role or identify how they wish. Hard work, discipline and nous is the key to success.
What I am saying is we have all benefited from the hard work the suffragettes did. Why women didn’t have the vote earlier is anyone’s guess. We are all better off from early Australian migration (and the abolition of the White Australia Policy), which saw an influx of New Australians, eager build this great nation of ours. Does it mean I identify as a feminist, because I have benefitted from early feminist victories?
If we follow this logic, as applied by these critics of Bishop, we should all be Christians. And Socialists. And Capitalists. And Constitutional Monarchists. I could go on. Why? I have benefitted from subsidised health care and education, but I’m not a socialist. We have benefited from the Westminster system, even if you loathe the British monarchy. We have benefitted from a Judeo-Christian heritage (despite many rumblings), even though many do not identify as a Christian.
We’ve all benefitted from something in our past that we really have no control over – wealthy parents, where we were born, the country we live in, a stable democracy. We have also been disadvantaged buy things out of our control – war, monetary policy, natural disasters. We don’t go around calling ourselves a GFC or a flood, even though we’ve been affected by it.
Like I said above, I’m no feminist, even though I’ve benefitted from some of the early wins feminists have fought for. Guess what women – working a full week can be pretty crapola, right? But you wanted it and you’ve got it.
So if someone does not want to identify according to your pre-set mould of them, leave them alone. No one likes being put into a box or defined by a set of rules. As Luther King so amazingly said “Let us not be defined by the colour of our skin, but by the content of our character”.
Surely that trumps any ‘ism’ any day.