Friday, August 15, 2014

Autism Answer: It's Smart To Believe In Humanity

I don't spend too much time focusing on the cruelty or prejudiced in the world, but that doesn't mean I don't see it's effect on my family. 

It also doesn't mean I don't do my darnedest to make a difference. 

There are those who believe that a positive vision and a belief in humanity, a "hippy peace loving tree hugging" mindset if you will, is cute but naive. Not me.
"Hitler's most monstrous legacy is that such faith in culture and in reason will forevermore be naive." ~Max Frankel
I say, no more.

Peace is action oriented and a belief in humanity is smart and savvy. I used to argue that being kind and believing in people was intelligent and proactive, now I just know and live it. Arguing my position (which is not the same as discussing or debating; two important ways to remain clear about my beliefs and consider when they could use an enlightening shift!) only kept me on the defensive and insidiously left me feeling a little bit naive. Oops!

Immersing yourself in the attitudes you're hoping to shift only puts you in the position of fighting the push and pull. I prefer to live and teach and learn tolerance, acceptance, and love with such volume that it invites others to feel the connection and innate intelligence of it, and hopefully join me. 

I prefer to believe that we can make a difference in our lifetime. That we can live in a world that says no to war and yes to equality and peace. I've lived long enough to see change happen, in the world and in myself, so it's smart for me to believe. When my husband was a child he had to use restrooms for blacks and couldn't walk in the front door of restaurants which were for whites only, he had to work twice as hard as his white co-workers to get half the paycheck and couldn't look a white person in the eye. Yet today he is happily married to a white woman, something that was illegal where we live during his childhood. Something he would have been murdered for. Though we still do see the stares and judgments, it's a different world than his childhood one. 

It's not naive for me to focus on that, it's smart. 

And I'm smart enough to know change can happen even quicker than that if we want it to. If we're willing to see our own roles clearly; making adjustments to our own actions and beliefs when necessary. And it will be necessary! We have all been taught by our surroundings, and our surroundings are quite flawed!

I don't know if my way is the best way for the world, but I'm confident that it's the best way for me.

And because it is the best way for me, I'm more able to take action and choose peace among difference. I'm comfortable expecting the folks at the store and in the schools to let go of some silly expectations to make room for my autistic brother's different needs and my son's interesting interests. It's not naive of me to know that my loved ones are worth shifting conveniences for, it's smart! It's true!!

And for those who need to see the intelligence behind focusing on love and connection in order to believe, I'm exampling that peace and forward motion with my fantastically diverse and joyful family! We don't always agree, we often try to change each other's minds, but we respect each and every member as equal and valuable. 

Not because we're naive, but because we're smart and proactive!

It's smart to believe in humanity. 
It's okay to be smart!

Hugs, smiles, and love!!

Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)