“What if your parents asked you to clean your room?” I asked a group of seventh and eighth graders today.
We were discussing the election and the number one thing they wanted to talk about was how upset they were that Donald Trump will be president. In fact, for their final project of making a Public Service Announcement, they wanted their message to be about Donald Trump and discrimination.
I continued, “You began dusting off the shelves, vacuuming the floor, wiping down the dresser and picking up dirty clothes. After a little while, your room began to look really clean. But you didn’t look under the bed. Underneath your bed there was a thick layer of dust, mold and fungus. When your parents came to look, they were amazed at how clean your room was. They were so happy to see you’d cleaned your room.”
“But is it really clean?” I asked. “On the surface it looks as though you have a really clean room, but with all that dust, mold and fungus under the bed, can you really say you have a clean room?”
They all looked at me in silence, and then one girl yelled out, “Oh, I get it! Trump has allowed us to look underneath the bed!”
“Exactly!” I said.
The other day a friend was showing me a video of Trump supporters saying some pretty outlandish stuff, and I asked him, “How old are the people in those videos?” He said, “I don’t know, like 30s, 40s and 50s?” I said, “exactly. They’ve felt this way for 30, 40, 50 years. They didn’t just all the sudden begin to feel these things this year. Just as strongly as you feel about the things you believe in, they feel just as strongly about the things they believe.”
I’m not condoning any behavior harmful to another human being, but I am saying that in order for us to truly say our room is clean, we have to look under the bed. Until we get in there and clean out the parts of ourselves we haven’t seen in a long time, our room will still technically be dirty. And the way to effectively clean something that’s been dirty for a long time is to look at it, acknowledge it and commit to doing the work to make it shine.
I’ve seen more people taking action than I ever have, and what makes me hopeful about healing any form of discrimination is that once we commit to something, it becomes more important in our lives. Whatever we commit to grows and whatever we are committed to shows.
In time and space as it exists, we can’t truly know what anything is for. Honoring our feelings is important, and so is knowing that the highest good is always unfolding.
I believe in miracles.
I believe in the innate goodness of humanity.
I believe in change.
I believe in personal growth and inner strength.
I believe life speaks to us and calls forth who we’re capable of being.
I believe in a power greater than us in action all of the time, in each of our lives.
I also believe what Hillary said last week:
“If we stand together and work together with respect for our differences, strength in our convictions, and love for this nation, our best days are still ahead of us.” ~ Hillary Clinton
Whatever we believe, may we use our energy and harness our strength for the good of all.
And finally, at the end of the day, if all we can do is muster up a little faith, it’s a start and it’s all we need to do.
“I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” Matthew 17:20
Author: Chris Tompkins
Image: courtesy of the author
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock