Let Us Change The World!

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
~ Nelson Mandela

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“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

~ Nelson Mandela

Courage and hope are greatly admired human attributes that were featured in the last post in this series, “Hope… Is It Enough?” It was inspired by words spoken by the former First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama when she urged young South African women leaders to give voice and form to these attributes because they will be caught and spread.

We live in a world that is significantly different from the one that existed when Michelle Obama spoke in South Africa in 2011. Political circumstances have changed at the highest levels leaving faith in democratic systems and capitalistic economies fractured. Uncertainty now rules and that instills fear for our collective future as citizens of this planet.

Two police officers dragging a young protester away.
Protest and violence (Courtesy of Pixabay)

The news services herald the latest outrageous threats and insults hurled by political leaders at each other – each one claiming to own the truth. Social media has become the battleground as venomous volleys are loosed each day on Twitter and rebroadcast by news networks around the globe. Where are the standards of decency, honesty, and respect? They seem to be disappearing rapidly and many are predicting doom for mankind, which is admittedly unnerving.

Trump's hair with caption: Do we get the leaders we deserve?
(Courtesy of Pixabay)

Although I am retired, it is the teacher in me that was moved by the words of Nelson Mandela, spoken to high school students in Boston in 1990, quoted above. The context of the words he used was his concern that so many young people were dropping out of school. I believe his words apply to each of us who are fearful, disappointed, hurt, and in desperate need of change. The path of division, intolerance, and hate leads to a horrifying place that none of us wants to visit.

A teacher in the woods teaching a young boy.
Teach wherever you are. (Courtesy of Pixabay)

I am a student of history and I have learned about the great deeds men and women accomplished as well as the horrible atrocities visited upon innocent victims. Human nature is characterized by the duality of good and evil. It is my conclusion that humans exhibit their very best face when they act in hope and courage, in the face of fear, to help others. Modeling the attributes of hope and courage in our daily lives will help to inspire others, but Mandela believes that education is the best weapon to bring about the change we crave as humanity seems to be teetering on the edge of a terrifying chasm.

What inspires hope in my heart when considering Mandela’s assertion is that each one of us is a teacher. Some of us teach formal lessons in an educational setting. All of us teach informally every time we interact with other persons – in our families, among our circles of friends, in our places of employment, and in public while shopping, running errands, or enjoying leisure activities. Some of us are parents raising children – teaching them the most important lessons in life. Those kids watch every move we make, listen to every word we speak, and consider every decision we make. What attributes are we modeling every day?

Many suggest that our democracies are fractured and create disharmony in societies that desperately need unity of spirit and purpose. We point to leaders who listen only to the voices of special interests and in so doing, ignore the well-being of the majority. The concept of the common good seems to have been lost. As I ruminate on this sad reality, the thought occurs to me that it isn’t just the leaders who have lost their way in our free and democratic societies.

Have we, the citizens, lost our way as well? On election day, do we vote? If we do, are the votes we cast informed choices? Are we familiar with the issues at stake? Most importantly, do the issues touted by political parties and candidates have anything to do with the common good? Am I willing to vote for a party which will increase my taxes so that there can be a fairer distribution of wealth in society? If I say that the leaders don’t care about the common good, then it is most probably because we the citizens don’t care.

Profile of a human head with a light switch and a caption: Think before you vote.

With the educational technology readily available in most homes today, there is no good excuse for not educating ourselves. If we’d rather waste hours watching entertaining programming on TV, then we are part of the problem and have no right to point fingers of blame at anyone else. Our example is being noted and learned by the youngsters in our homes. Words spoken thoughtlessly are heard and then mimicked. If we really want change we need to clean up our own acts and live appropriately so that others may learn from our teaching. The education we provide will be a powerful agent of change.

We teach by our words and our deeds. Together, let us change the world!

Author: John Fioravanti

I'm a retired History teacher (35 years), husband, father of three, grandfather of three. My wife, Anne, and I became business partners in December, 2013, and launched our own publishing company, Fiora Books (http://fiorabooks.com), to publish my books. We have been married since 1973 and hope our joint business venture will be as successful as our marriage.

33 thoughts on “Let Us Change The World!”

  1. Excellent post, John. It’s important to remind people, especially people born after 1980 that a mere 50 years ago the people who ran our country and made the laws simply assumed that segregation was reasonable, that a woman who wasn’t married by thirty was lost and that gays were all pedophiles and a threat to national security. But there is another side to this story: we had fully funded public education, enacted programs to protect the elderly and disabled and fully supported the constitutional right of all citizens to speak out and advocate for themselves.

    You cannot tell a man who came out before Stonewall that our democracy doesn’t work. I’ve exercised my rights and know that it does.

    We know how to beat the evils of racism and religious bigotry. We’ve done it before.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Robert, your experience is why I don’t give up hope that eventually right will win over evil. You are quite right – we must never lose sight of the fact that there are both sides to consider.

      Like

  2. Timely words. So many live in a bubble. Until those bubbles are popped, unity, love, and care for those around the world have a chance. Powerful entry. Thank you for waking the dead, reminding the living, and sharing with the … racking my mind for the right word here.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. What a terrific post, John! One of the first things my shaman teacher told me was that we all teach one another ~ we hold up mirrors for each other through our words and deeds. Mandela is such an inspiration You are indeed my soul brother 💜

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Though I continue to hold on to the idea that man is inherently good, some of the comments I’ve heard the Trump supporters make totally undermine me. One such person, when asked if he wanted the ACA to continue for the poor, said he didn’t give a hoot about the poor. He said he only cared about himself and his family. To hear people actually voice that kind of sentiment literally starves me of oxygen at times… Great post, John.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, that kind of statement is disheartening, yet we all know there are lots of self-centered people around who’d jump at the chance to follow a supreme narcissist like Trump. We won’t change them, so I’m hoping we can positively influence the rest to be part of the solution. Thanks for your insights and thanks for the follow, Cheryl!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. So much inspiration in your words, John, as always.
    I recently posted my thoughts on Facebook, and it was a huge departure from my usual posts that are lighthearted and positive. I feel like the act of listening to others’ concerns is gone. Gone. Labels of left and right are handed out with complete abandon. I see it and it’s baffling. Such polarization of thought scares me. It really does.
    Education, in all forms, is vital for sure. Thank you so much for sharing your heart and insight. Wishing you a joyful day.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Natalie. I appreciate that you shared your heart and thoughts with us today. It is all too easy to give up and sink into despair – if we do that, we become part of the problem. Your poems of love are sorely needed!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Yes, yes, YES! Pinned this twice — orange hair to “Un-thinkable Today?” and Think/vote to “Be the Change.” WONDERFUL, John.
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to transform a world!

    Liked by 1 person

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