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A Ten-Year-Old's Yearning For a Positive Change

Over time I have learned that having conversation with my two children can be quite eye opening! I've always found it irresistible discovering what keeps their attention alive for a given moment.
....
"Mom, one day I would love to wipe poverty and homelessness from the face of the earth."

Fatos SIMSEK
LM South - Raleigh, North Carolina


It is a sort of suspension not knowing what mind-bugging situations they can put me in at a blink! It was one of those days while I was driving them around town, when my 10 year old daughter came up with a couple of, well, gigantic questions! She brought them up immediately after seeing a homeless person wandering on the street with a sign in his hand asking for work in exchange of food. After watching the individual's empty stare for a while, she expressed herself with a rather frustrated tone of voice: Mom, one day I would love to wipe poverty and homelessness from the face of the earth. That's exactly what I want to do but I feel so small against such a huge problem. Do you suppose I can do that just by myself? She continued: What are some of the ways that I can help this cause? Then she jumped into a whole new, yet related subject and continued to examine my tarnished after-hours social intelligence! She wanted to know how come there were so many homeless people in Raleigh but not as many back home, in Turkey?

She got me off-guard all right! I was totally speechless against the size of such dramatic social questions she had. I felt deeply for my daughter and her yearning for an unbiased life on earth. Although it made me proud that she is not a self-consumed grade student, it equally alarmed me about what else might be bothering her at such a tender age. Coming back to my senses at once, I praised her being an idealist! I applauded her for her courage to think that she could pull this off by herself. I congratulated her for her annoyance by a societal problem of this volume that made her think hard to come up with a steady change. I patted her on the back for an interest in the fate of humanity. I cheered along with her hoping that there is still chance for a positive change, assuming that there are girls and boys of her age who are already awakened and thinking about individual participation for peace and hope.

Once I felt that I did a fairly good job of praising, I told her that the problem had public dimensions and should be dealt within that context. In a few words I told her that when time arrived and she had the means to help diminish or, better yet, destroy poverty and homelessness, she would not and should not be alone. She then would begin using her leadership skills. She would need to gather like-minded individuals and start brainstorming. I assured her that while one individual may not be enough to solve such an enormous problem, at the same time that very individual might be a crucial part of the solution. I told her that there is not one single cause for this problem and there cannot be one single cure either. A communal solution is a must if we want to wipe poverty and homelessness from the face of the earth. There is no guarantee that she will opt for a career to help address this problem, however; odds are that as intelligent as she is, she would keep tackling the problem at every occasion; as motivated as she is, she would be sure to make a difference no matter how big or small it might be; as charged as she is, she would be a good leader in the community to mobilize resources.

By the way I felt much more in control with the second part of her question! It almost suggested the existence of a nicer environment in Turkey when it comes to homelessness. Apparently, she hadn't seen very many homeless people in Turkey during her short visits. I think that is because most people get temporary help in the form of shelters and meals from their family, relatives or neighbors. Of course, there are homeless people in Turkey and they too need guidance back into society but at least most have family or relatives to turn to in times of crisis. This all boils down to cultural differences, we agreed. She quickly analyzed what I told her and suggested that an attachment-society, close-knitted relationships that is, might be the solution to this kind of problem. I think she has a point, if there was a one-size-fits-all type of solution to it then attachment-societies might have been able to solve it quicker than distant-societies. I have to admit that her questions were loaded but the quick corollary she ended up making astonished me; in Turkey there exits an attachment-society and there is always support coming from one's family, friends and relatives therefore social support issues needed to be revisited worldwide!

It was a bit too heavy conversation we had in the car that day. The main thing, I hope, she hauled was that she needed to insist on solving problems and be a leader when she senses a pressing need. It is not unusual for us, as a family, to talk about our dreams for a peaceful world, a fairly shared world economy, better education and improved health care. Now I think that her great questions have come as an extension to that higher thinking. I am proud of her having a sense of community at this young age. She may be a social dreamer just now but as a mother I feel that it is my duty to continue keeping her mind engaged in such a divine pursuit and never let it fall through the cracks.


Fatos Simsek - LM South Raleigh, North Carolina
March 14, 2006

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