I think it’s safe to say that it’s been a strange old year. So many amazing people have left us during 2016, we voted to leave Europe and we have the very real prospect of a TV reality star in the White House….. actually strange is probably an understatement!
But what I’ve really struggled with this year is the amount of hatred that seems to be in the air. In the news, on social media, even in the community around me. Insults, prejudice, even physical violence – all targeted at anyone who is perceived to be different, whether that’s due to race, religion or disability. And some of these things seem intentionally cruel – for example the recent craze for tagging a random picture of someone with a disability, making a supposed ‘joke’ about their physical attractiveness. What’s that about? It’s just nasty.
Have we always been this way? Maybe we have, but with 24 hour news and the rise in social media, we just know about it more. Whatever the reason, it saddens me deeply.
But there is hope. I know it sounds a bit twee, but I was watching the film ‘Paddington’ the other day, and it moved me to tears. What a wonderful message about challenging discrimination, welcoming diversity, and really including people who are perceived as ‘different’! And I know that there are so many people out there who represent the positives in our society – people who care about what happens to others and who go out of their way (sometimes even putting themselves at risk) to help those in need.
So in 2017, I’m going to to try and be like Paddington and the Brown family! I’m not going to let the hatred get me down (although I may resort to an occasional ‘hard stare’ when required!) I’m going to try to surround myself with positive people, and positive news, and try to help where I can.