Thursday, June 20, 2013

To educate the world

Three things from yesterday's NRP story After a Marine's Suicide, a Family Recalls Missed Red Flags strike me:
  1. Military service is part of his family tradition, going back to the Revolutionary war, and yet his family had never heard of post traumatic stress disorder.  I thought everyone knew about PTSD.  Certainly a military family should know about it.  We need to educate people.
  2. He joined the military because he wanted to help the world.  To me that shows a real lack of vision with regard to what sort of action might be helpful to the world.  We need to give our young people more helpful ways to help the world.  
  3. A reader going by the name AddySun wrote a comment on the story.   Her husband was in the military. She told of how destructively he behaved, and said that she eventually left him.  Much as we want to help those we love who are troubled, we also have to take care of ourselves. She had to leave him to save herself.  I think if I were in that position, I would always feel there was something wrong with me for not being able to help him find his way back to sanity, for abandoning him.  When I look at her situation, I know she did the right thing, and I just have to remind myself to view myself in the same way that I view others.
I have been thinking the past few days how troubled I am about the ignorance in the world.  Politicians who are leading us sometimes are making their decisions based on wrong information (for example, Tom Akin, who believes, "If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”)

I am upset by parents who are cruel to their parents.  I wish parent education were a pre-requisite for childbearing.

But I don't think these things can be mandated.  I am thinking of Fly By Night by Frances Hardinge.  The solution is not to find the truth and impose it on people.  Because we can't be wedded to one version of the truth.  We have to keep our minds open, always learning.

So this is my cause, my passion: to make information available.  To tell military families about PTSD.  To tell young people about opportunities to help the world.  To tell people in harmful relationships that they need to take care of themselves.  To give policymakers accurate information about the topics on which they are making policies.  To teach parents about childrearing practices.  And not only to convey facts, but to convey something about the value of critical thinking and of always being open to new information, rather than being set in one view.  To give people all this information, but then to let them choose what to do with it.

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