What Were You Taught?

Sr. Pat Thomas, OP
Blog by Sr. Pat Thomas, OP

The Broadway musical South Pacific debuted in 1958. 60 years or so later, one song from the play is so timely, it is scary!

The song is “You’ve Got to be Taught”. The lyrics have such phrases as “You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear…..”; “You’ve got to be taught to be afraid, of people whose eyes are oddly made, and people whose skin is a different shade…”

So what were you taught? Growing up,I was never exposed to many people of color and hardly had any experiences with them until later in life. But as a child, I did learn to hate politics, and still do. Not for the reasons you might suspect, but because my Dad was a Democrat and always had to worry about the election of a Republican Governor. Dad worked for the State of Ohio DOT as a certified carpenter. Before 1975, if you drove on the interstates in Ohio and stopped at a rest area, my Dad probably built the structures on the sites. After the election of Jim Rhodes, Dad was demoted to road crew, just based on politics. I sure didn’t want my Dad to lose his job, and to this day the memory of Jim Rhodes is not one of my favorites. Thus my strong dislike for that system.

So see, it is easy to pick up a little fear and even hate for things or people that do not work well in your life, whether as a child you fully understand them or not. We could get into the whole nature or nurture issue, but that is for another time. Right now, I am just wondering, are there things or people you fear or even hate, and do you know where that fear or hatred came from? Have you learned anything that helped you dissolve the fear or hate, or do you find you still hold on to some of those feelings? Or have you been in a family where no one has ever hated or feared anyone?

These days we are confronted with fear and hatred in almost every news report or media interview. Where did it all come from and how can it all go away? Guess it is up to each one of us to confront the things we have been taught and maybe relearn them.

Posted in Weekly Word

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