Today we turn our attention to ideas on how we can assist one another in meeting our higher needs of love, belongingness and feeling bonded to each other. By meeting these needs, it opens us to focusing on even higher aspects of what it means to be a human.
Previously we considered how the root basis of our problem with violence in this country is tied to our sense of feeling disconnected. Focusing on guns, entertainment and other outward symptoms are important but don’t get us to the basis for our conflicts.
Using Maslow’s needs hierarchy as a foundation, we have considered that it is important that we assist our society in meeting its basic physiological and safety and security needs. Only then can we move people to working on growing their sense of love and connectedness. And, what are some things that we can do that will assist us in meeting those desires?
Again, anything suggested here is simply food for consideration….something to move us in the right direction. There needs to be a refocus on the building of skills that connect us to each other. Here, family life and our educational system are key. Let’s consider a few possibilities:
How can we strengthen family life? Can there be training that assists new parents on their parenting skills? Can we help mothers and fathers see how their love and support is essential to their children? Can there be online videos, classes and some kind of basic skills training that we don’t provide now?
Can there be a reorientation of our schools away from the focus on teaching to the test? Most educators are aware that we humans possess “multiple intelligences”, a term popularized by writer and researcher Daniel Goleman. Humans may share a lot in terms of our needs levels and the like, but we also have some basic differences in the talents and skills that we came here to earth to express. Book learning – cognitive intelligence – is only one part of being human. And, for many humans other abilities are more important – artistic talents, musical abilities, sports and kinesthetic abilities, interpersonal abilities, the ability to understand ourselves and more. We need to honor these differences in our schools.
One of those skills that our educational system can acknowledge and strengthen in all of us is in our interpersonal relations, in our empathy for others. In other words, schools can assist us in expanding our care and concern for a wider circle of other people. Instead of accepting that gangs and bullying and all sorts of destructive behavior towards one another is just a natural part of life, let’s use our human creative abilities to teach our children to support, accept and care for one another.
Can our media be used to move us to expanding our circle of concern? Most definitely. In spite of all of the flaws that exist in our media by their overwhelming bombardment of us with violence, the media has also been a positive force in moving us forward on a number of social issues. I would suggest that our growing acceptance of race in America and more recently the growth in acceptance of gays and lesbians can be attributed in part to the media. When story lines remind us that people of different color and different sexual orientation are faced with the same issues and desires as we are, it points out that they are not someone to fear. Shows like “Glee” are models of building a consciousness of acceptance and support for those who are different. We should support more programming like that.
I want to conclude this series with a comment I heard the other night. The individual stated that it wasn’t that long ago that tobacco use was widespread in our society and we thought that it would be impossible to change that cultural norm. However, we did.
How did this happen? That’s a long story, but I would point out that the tipping point in the change was one basic factor. We each needed to get to the point in our lives that it was important that we both not smoke nor be around smokers. We wanted to be healthy. We wanted our children to be healthy. We had to reach the point where our selfish desires also was in our collective best interest.
It’s time to get selfish and demand to live in a world where we and our kids are free from want, need and violence. If our selfish needs help others to live in such a world, all the better.
Check out all of Mark Gilbert’s books—available at Amazon. Click here to visit his Author Page. This includes his recent one Our Spiritual Rights and Responsibilities. In this book, he offers what he suggests are the 5 basic rights we all possess by virtue of our being these spiritual beings on planet Earth — and our 2 responsibilities we all hold in relation to one another! Check it out!