Quakers use the expression “The State of Our Society” as the title of each Meeting’s yearly report. I believe that this is a title that asks more than “how much money have we made and how have we spent it.” I look forward to each year’s “State of Society” reports. They show what we have accomplished, but actually the report spends most of its time on what we need to bring to “the Light” and “go forward on” in a responsible manner.
If we used a Quaker approach to our United States Society Report, with simple statements of what needs to be addressed, I believe we would have something like the following:
An introduction that might include:
“The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children”.
~Dietrich Bonhoeffer (German Pastor and Nazi opponent who died in a concentration camp).
And then there might be the “concerns” as in this abbreviated “LIST:”
- Social Services/Legal System
As a retired kid therapist, I am surprised (STILL, will I never “grow up?”) to find that I am aghast and stupefied as to WHY we do not pull together our magnificent resources and generate SUCCESS from the beginning of EVERY child’s life.
(Quakers look at what NEEDS they have, determine how immediate they need to be attended to and what types of resources are needed. Once the decision is made to “go forward” EVERYONE helps with what they can do/give.)
To protect the inherent class system in capitalism, we have rationalized and justified our way into believing that we can grow and maintain a superior society by ignoring the RIGHTS and NEEDS of every child.
What would happen if we “put kids first?” Really PUT KIDS FIRST!
We would have to recognize that by creating a firm ATTACHMENT between baby and mom/parents/family is absolutely CRUCIAL for every child. We then have to make sure that every child has access to a school system that provides for the child’s encompassing needs. Medical, dental, emotional, physical needs are always attended to. No child would live in poverty or would be homeless or be unattached from loving care providers. No family would have to struggle so much as to live in world of hopelessness and helplessness.
Cost too much??
How much are we willing to “look the other way” as to the cost to the family who can not afford “the list?”
How much are we willing to “look the other way” as to the cost to the society who refuses to help its most vulernable citizens–no matter what the rationale?
Write a letter, make a phone call, tweet, Facebook, email–make a gesture in support of children–in understanding the very fabric (“soul”) of our society. Get involved in whatever way you can. Today.
I realize that some may call this “ranting,” but for Quakers, “ranting” isn’t a new thing–(okay, so please know that I am attempting a little humor here, but I will make a note to be quite careful as to my inadequate knowledge of Quakers and their “associates.”)
Having said the above, I hope you’ll join me in RANTING a little to “do what’s right.”
Reference: children and attachment: http://teacher.scholastic.com/professional/bruceperry/niche.htm Please see Dr. Bruce Perry’s work on attachment and our society as a whole.
Reference: Quaker terminology: http://easyweb.easynet.co.uk/pdaniels/qjargon.html.
Reference on “Ranting:” http://www.exlibris.org/nonconform/engdis/ranters.html
Just in case you might like to have a couple of more quotes on this subject:
“A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.” has also been attributed to Mahatma Gandhi although the complete quote is actually: “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. I hold that, the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man”
Aristotle has often been quoted as saying you can judge a nation by the way it treats its most vulnerable citizens.