Write Team: Humankind is our business

Dear fellow humans,

I have always been a fan of you. I know for most of you, you wake up each day wanting to be the best version of yourselves, have a sense of purpose, and want to make a difference. I admire everything about you, including the diversity and uniqueness which make up your identity. I acknowledge each of you has had to face your challenges as well as triumphs on your chosen path in life. I have seen the best in you and the worst, myself included. The question to ask in times of distress is not what’s the problem, but who’s the problem?

We, humans, are ticking time bombs of emotions ready to erupt at any moment. This can lead to rash decisions, words we can never take back, or possibly open the door to much-needed conversations. But, in the end, I never have lost hope in humanity. You continue to amaze me!

Throughout history, the goodness that resigns in all of us tends to rise above when needed in times of despair. The world needs us to step up again to survive these unprecedented times.

This pandemic knows no boundaries. We are as one because we are experiencing the same sense of fear as a world. Fear of the virus, fear of the unknown, fear of the new normal. Fear in itself can destroy us. So how can we overcome our fears?

The answer lies with how we plan to cope with the circumstances surrounding the pandemic or any situation dealt to us. It’s called CHOICE, and as we all know, there is a consequence with every choice we make.

Humans have the intellectual ability to make choices daily. We have the power to make the situation as favorable or as unfavorable as we want it to be. Key words-as we want it to be. I’m not saying there won’t be struggles, but the perception of the situation determines the mindset moving forward. I would think, no matter political views, beliefs, or biases based on economics, religion, race, or gender, we would be able to have an open mind and listen before unleashing. That is my choice. If I must, I agree to disagree, but I choose to listen to both sides and respect others’ viewpoints.

One of my favorite scenes in “A Christmas Carol” is when Marley explains what the chains he wears represent to Scrooge. Years of disservice to his fellow humans to gain power and money. Chains he created by his actions. We reap what we sow, and with each daily interaction, we either create a longer link in our chain or reverse the damage we have done. We must ask ourselves, how long are our chains at the moment? Are we going to keep up the hatred towards others based on health choices, politics, race, etc.? Whether we view ideas differently doesn’t give us the right to belittle or degrade our fellow human beings. Our way isn’t the right way or vice versa. We must choose what is best for us at that moment in time, knowing the consequence of the choice. Regardless, do you want your chain to keep growing, or would you prefer the chance to break free of what binds you?

I understand all the turmoil the past couple of years has created. However, as opposed to focusing on the negatives, we should choose to approach each day with positive thinking and a growth mindset. This isn’t saying that each day will be sunshine and rainbows, but by having a more positive attitude, even the most difficult of days can be a bit easier to get through. And yes, research backs that statement. This includes how we interact with each other, whether face to face or on social media or if we have differing perspectives. You will get back what you put out into the universe.

I know I have grown as both an individual and an educator, even through all the chaos. In my heart, I believe no one will take anything in his or her life for granted any longer. I am also hopeful that we will come together and all realize that humankind is our business.

In the end, how we choose to deal with this pandemic and our day-to-day interactions can lead to endless days of dread or a renewed sense of self when it is all said and done. Some individuals will come out of these scenarios as better human beings. Others will remain the same unhappy, cynical bunch they always have been. It is about CHOICE.

There is an enormous amount of good in the world. That, in itself, is a sense of hope. It is possible to look beyond barriers and see each other as people capable of empathy and the willingness to put our own interests aside to listen to another point of view. That is the world I want to be a part of.

A world united. I choose to weaken my chain by being the best darn human I can be. How about you?

Peace and Love.

  • Lee Ann Raikes is a resident of Ottawa, and works as a seventh grade ELA educator at Marseilles Elementary. She’s been teaching for 17 years.