The other day, we were at a picnic. We were part of a large group that I had not met before.
After lunch, one of the women I didn't know, approached Jett, our ten year old son, and said 'Throw this ball at that girl's head.' 'That girl' was deep in conversation with another group and had her head turned away from us.
Jett said 'No.' The woman said 'yes, yes, throw the ball at her.' and she laughed like it was going to be a really fun joke.
At this stage, the girl the ball was aimed at turned around and said 'please don't do that. That's so stupid' or something to this effect, and turned back to her conversation.
Now, Jett had the ball in his hand, and was not sure if he should or shouldn't throw the ball. Then, with a little more encouragement, he started to aim the ball at the other girl's head, at which point I intervened, as is a mother's privilege.
Now, I know this is a small example, but for me, it was symbolic of so many of these situations in life, when we are encouraged to do something we know is wrong, and because we feel social or authoritarian pressure, we go against our better judgement. That better judgement is 'do unto others what you would have done unto you'. Its a universal code of law, built into most of us at some level of awareness.
When we go against this, we go against ourselves.
That moment, when our better judgement is overthrown for approval or acceptance of 'others' is the moment we give up our personal choice and become 'victims'. Victims to the invisible 'them'. Sometimes we don't realise the power of one. One person to stand against the crowd. Do you remember the story of Rosa Parks sitting in the white section of the bus way back in 1955? It's a remarkable story of the one person's actions turning the tide of the oppression of 'them'.
Every day, in small ways, we need to gather our courage and be the person we really want to be, and not fall victim to our ideas of what other people want for us. Be true to ourselves and build our self esteem on small acts of kindness towards ourselves.
I liked this happening to Jett. It gave us an opportunity to talk about doing the 'right' thing, or doing the thing the 'others' want us to do. Run it through your internal system. Would I like that done to me? Is what I'm doing OK on all levels of my heart and mind? If Yes, then continue.
Photo: Tiffany Jones