So every week with the volunteers we watch a cultural documentary and a history documentary. Last night we watched the history documentary. I was grading tests and doing a whole bunch of other stuff while the family here for the week watched, since I’ve seen the movie between 4 and 6 times.
But after the movie I couldn’t help but stop what I was doing. I couldn’t help but perk up and listen to the reflection going on in front of me. Five teenage kids and two parents were having a beautiful discussion about life and culture. And in one sentence, one parent said what I have been trying to articulate to myself about cultural differences. He stated the exact thought I have been trying to think of for a long while. A statement that sums up American entitlement, but more importantly (and more positively for Americans, at least) all of the opportunities available to Americans that we should celebrate instead of dread.
He said: “Question the things that seem normal to you.”
That’s it. Just question them.
Guaranteed meals every day? Question it. An almost guaranteed education? Question it. Running water, electricity, government assistance. Question it all.
Not necessarily “why do I have this,” but “why don’t others?”
And when you think about that, think about all of the people in the world that don’t question the things that seem normal to them. A lack of education can be normal. Clean drinking water isn’t a normal, guaranteed thing in too many places. Sometimes a meal depends on whether or not you can make something to sell or beg in the streets for enough to buy you and yours enough food to sustain yourselves for one more day.
And maybe, once you’ve questioned it, you can find a way to help.