Sunday, May 22, 2016

Thriving In A Less Than Ideal Environment

Sunday, May 22, 2016

"The measure of a society is found in how they treat their weakest and most helpless citizens. As Americans, we are blessed with circumstances that protect our human rights and our religious freedom, but for many people around the world, deprivation and persecution have become a way of life." - Jimmy Carter, Jr.

As I have continued forward on the path of my healing journey I have come to more and more appreciate the reality of how bad some policies are here in the United States. Childcare policy could certainly stand improvement.

The broader social and economic reality of a nation and its associated array of policies have significant relevance to the quality of life for individuals and individual families. People do not live out their lives in a vacuum. And the same is true of families and entire communities. The context of what is happening at the local, state and national level can play a huge (if not decisive) role in the choices individual citizens will make. I was reminded of the significance of the macro-level reality as I read a recent piece by columnist Paul Krugman.

Whole nations of people don't necessarily do well without some intentional focus being placed on creating policies that will support such an end result. Krugman gives a nod to this reality in the title of his piece: it takes a policy. Yes indeed it certainly takes a policy. And unfortunately the United States does continue to do quite poorly by its children when referenced against the performance of other nations throughout the world. Krugman minces no words near the end of his column: "The state of child care in America is cruel and shameful - and even more shameful because we could make things much better without radical change or huge spending."

So what does this one column focused on the lives of children have to do with my own individual journey of healing from trauma? One painful aspect of my process of coming to terms with my own experience of trauma has been my realization that individual families alone may be able to do so very little when powerful institutions pay little heed to their cares and worries. When priorities at the level of an entire state or even nation are misplaced it can be very difficult to do anything substantive to improve your own life or that of your family.

Krugman's words help me to further appreciate the multiple factors that may act to influence the direction of a person's life. If children experience catastrophic failure in the institutions - family of origin, law enforcement, education, places of worship, etc - we are taught to believe will serve and mold us (something I personally experienced) is it any wonder that some of those same children will later grow up to become angry, disillusioned and even violent individuals? One need only google "toxicity of childhood poverty" to find a wealth of information regarding how this one particular adverse environmental factor alone can leave developing children coming up shorter than their peers later in life.

I believe the United States as a nation could be doing so much better by its children. We need thoughtful policy-making and implementation to replace the rancor and finger pointing that has characterized so much of the political process here in the United States for the last several years. We do not need theatrics and wedge issues capturing and distracting the attention of the public. What is one good example of harnessing the public's time and energy for a completely frivolous purpose? Consider the recent story out of Oklahoma in which a group of Oklahoma Republicans are asking Congress to impeach President Obama over the administration's recommendations that public schools accommodate transgender students in bathrooms. It seems a little strange to me that misleading a nation into a disastrous war in Iraq (former President George W. Bush) was not considered an impeachment worthy offense but somehow improving equity by moving to meet the needs of all students somehow apparently is.

I often want to exclaim "It's the priorities, stupid!"

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I invite you to accompany me as I document my own journey of healing. My blog is designed to offer inspiration and solace to others. If you find it of value I welcome you to share it with others. Aloha!