This I Believe

Michael - Denver, Colorado
Entered on October 9, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: family

We are a structure, we are a system, we are a machine and we are an organism. More than that, we are a family. It is time that we as a race realize this fact.

For too long, wars have been waged in the name of difference. So like children, we squabble over resources and territory. We initiate jihads and crusades, forever criminalizing one another. “An eye for an eye,” we yell at one another, forever only blinding our children in the process. We are children; how dare we claim supremacy over one another.

“Family” does not mean a common set of genes. Family is a state of mind. Family is what holds people together when a boy finds out that his nineteen-year-old sister is pregnant. Or at least, it’s supposed to. Family gives that boy hope that her decision, or rather lack-of decision, will work out for the best.

You had your stereotypical reactions: The mother had her cold, dismissive, almost apathetic head-in-the-clouds routine. The brother had his raging, corrosive inferno that he tried desperately to bottle up for a half hour in the bathroom—only instilling the fear of an attempted suicide in his parents’ minds. And the father had his own inferno that quickly boiled into a supernova that scalded everyone in a two block radius. The second, older sister had a calm acceptance of the whole ordeal. The eldest of the four had prior engagement.

Family is that boy’s proverbial rock. It binds that ragtag group of just-so-happened genetically linked misfits into a solid mass. It puts the “fun” in “dysfunctional.” It links us all, in fact. The idea of family is what creates family. Love, or even just a mutual respect for one another, spawns a community in itself. The only problem is having that respect for others. I’m sad and furious to say that there is no ubiquitous reverence for one another throughout this world. There’s not a drop at times.

That is exactly what needs to change: we need to respect one another and, to a degree, love one another. We need to stop this horrid cycle of ego centralism and realize take the next step in human evolution—a step that will be haunted by a trail of blood. Our bloody shadow will only be shed when we, as a race, learn and accept our differences and appreciates that they exist between us.