Bits and Bites on two simple wishes

Bits and Bites of Everyday Life

Two simple wishes for the New Year

By Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair
True North Perspective

Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair is the author of The Neglected Garden and two French novels. Visit her website to learn more

Image: Detail of photo of Alberte Villeuneuve-SinclairImage: Photo of baby on back of small child on back of older child. Legen reads: The way to change others' minds is with affection, and not anger.2014 was not an easy year. Terrorist threats, unstable countries under siege, human suffering, Islamic State beheadings, Ebola, natural disasters ... There were times when I chose not to listen to the news anymore.

Then 2015 came in with more violence, first in France. The world was shocked by the Charlie Hebdo attack and subsequent attack at the kosher supermarket in eastern Paris. In both cases there were fatalities, including the gunmen. These were not rational attacks and they don’t make religious sense either. They are the result of hatred pushed to the outmost limit.

Now let’s step back for a moment and consider another start to a new year. The Chinese New Year starts on February 19 and heralds the year of the Green Wooden Sheep (or Ram, or Goat). Many astrologists, according to Goto horoscope, conclude “that the processes that have been unfolding and spreading chaos for the past few years are finally starting to stabilize ... Mankind once again has high hopes for the future.”

I am an optimist. I believe in love and I believe in its healing power… so this is my first wish. Let’s teach our children to care, let’s give them the tools to build a better world. We’re not going to achieve that by portraying violence as a game. I find it appalling to see the number of very violent movies and video games that are offered to children today. They are an addictive, mind-numbing, unrealistic, noisy series of fake events that make no sense and are completely devoid of feeling and compassion. Some of these children will grow up to be young adults completely addicted to these movies and games. Instead of opening up to the world and its many possibilities, they will lock themselves in an imaginary world that has nothing to do with reality. They won’t try to further their education or reach a higher level of performance. They will shun responsibility and more or less vegetate in a game world of violence. They may even act out their fantasy world.

Yet, other children will follow their heart and become good friends, responsible citizens and marvelous parents because their parents understood the value of harmony and giving purpose to their children’s lives by instilling good moral values, teaching them the ethical difference between right and wrong thus enabling them to build their own spiritual strength and believe in a higher power, God or Universal Intelligence of love. Instead of craving games and thrills, these children will be encouraged to participate in sports, creative endeavours and community service. A sense of purpose will be their lifetime reward.

My first wish is that we stop feeding violence to our children. Let’s honour their individual talents and teach them to care for humanity! One of the best general audience movies of 2014 was definitely “Frozen”. Is it any wonder children wanted mementoes from the movie for Christmas? One of the best adult movies I saw this past year was “The Theory of Everything” based on Stephen Hawking’s life. This was a perfect example of humanity and spiritual strength under trying circumstances.

Wayne Dyer has often portrayed a mind that is open to everything as meaning “being peaceful, radiating love, practicing forgiveness, being generous, respecting all life…” He tells us we can all become miracle workers if we can visualize it in our mind and in our heart.

So before I go to my next wish, let me share one of Stephen Hawking’s quotations:

We are all different. There is no such thing as a standard or run-of-the-mill human being, but we share the same human spirit.”

So in 2015, let’s honour that human spirit! Let’s become more spiritual and let’s stop using religion as a divisive, competitive value.

My second wish is that we all practice opening up our minds to the spiritual ideas of true leaders. Let’s start listening to the great ones: Buddha, Ghandi, the Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King Jr., Pope Francis… and let’s stop criticizing, arguing and hating. I also think it would be important to see spiritual Muslim leaders step up to the plate and encourage their followers to drop debilitating beliefs that are absolutely archaic and bring this religion into the 21st century. Instead of strapping a bomb to a young girl and killing people as happened in Nigeria or firing on innocent students in Pakistan, let’s value every child’s and every human being’s life. Every child deserves to be loved; every child deserves a good education so he can start building a future instead of destroying it. As Martin Luther King Jr. once said:

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

May we be blessed with peace and understanding in the Chinese New Year!