I believe that people are inherently good and kind and everyone wants the same basic things in life: a safe place to live, food to eat, good health, and friends/family to love.
This belief may seem naïve in a time of air travel insecurity, regional wars, ethnic strife and domestic violence and yet, it is those mutually shared desires that create the context for these struggles between people that have endured since our existence. Despite religious, philosophical and value differences, these essential needs of our life are universal. I also believe that love is the answer and laughter is the best medicine.
Growing up in Jamaica, Canada and the UK, I was surrounded by the love generated by my mothers 13 siblings and their offspring, as well as the offspring of my grandfather’s 8 siblings. As a family culture we helped whoever needed helping and took people in as was needed. In a household, all were equals. Love opened our hearts and gave us the freedom to share what little or much we had and to make family without support of bloodlines.
I believe that this upbringing created the foundation for a career in human services and public health. My mom’s family was full of health professionals, educators and public servants. All of them built careers around the belief that all of us want food, shelter, health and love, all of us have a right to them.
As I grew up, moved, traveled, and became a social work and public health professional, my beliefs have not changed as they have been proven true over and over again. No matter what language is spoken, when one speaks or acts in love, things change. Whether sick or healthy, laughter makes us feel better and joins us to people we may have just met.
As i travel in my black skin and female body i find that most people are kind and good to a stranger who asks a question. they will take me into their homes and their hearts and their lives willingly. when i am sick, kind people become even better friends.
I believe that whether homeless, drug addicted, French, British, Ugandan, Belizian, Jamaican or Canadian, Catholic, Buddhist or animist, everyone wants the basics of food, safe shelter, health and love and will do what they can to get it. And they want it for themselves and their families.
I believe that all of us in the world are connected through those needs. And if we act in love with a bit of laughter thrown in, there is no problem we cannot solve. Yes, I believe that our enemies are just like us in what they want and need for themselves and their families. We really are not that much different in our basic humanity.
And corny as it may sound in 2006, I believe that all we need is love.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.