As we begin planning for our family Thanksgiving celebration I keep reflecting on the privilege that I have been wrapped in since birth. I grew up safe, snug and oblivious. Born white, middle class, suburban, and American, there was always food on our table and a roof above our heads. I lay down each night with an easy heart, few troubles to steal my sleep.
And then I grew up.
And my children, through living in a different time and a different community, are very much the same. We might not be affluent but we are fed, safe, and warm.
And I can't stop thinking about Syria.
As a mother, as a wife, as a daughter, as a human I need to keep thinking about them. Because they are just like me.
And I wonder – why did I win the dice roll and grow up so safe and privileged while others live with a fear I can't begin to comprehend?
It is not because my children deserve safety more than these beautiful children.
All children deserve safety.
It is not because my family is better somehow and more deserving of a life of peace.
It is a basic human right for us all.
No, luck alone has placed me here.
And so I cannot separate myself from those fleeing war in other parts of the world. I will not. We are one human family. And only because I am blessed with good fortune do I wake in my soft, warm bed rather than to the terror of the air raid sirens, or hungry and cold and afraid in the woods.
Before we look away – before we decide to turn our backs on those in desperate need of help – let's look inside ourselves and decide what type of world we want to build. Is it a world we built of fear or a world we built of love?
I choose love.
Because now more than ever the world needs more kindness.
The world needs us to not look away and pretend that what befalls others should not disrupt our day.
Because we are family. And all we have is each other.
Don't look away. You are more powerful than you can even imagine. You can help. If only you can muster the strength and courage to do so.
1. Learn the facts.
There is so much misinformation circulating today that it's hard to understand what is really going on. Especially on mainstream media and social media. Educate yourself. Learn about the 11 million people displaced right now from Syria (nearly 6 million of them children).
3. Acknowledge your fear.
It's human nature to feel afraid. To worry about what might happen if we choose to help. Be real about your fears, then put them in perspective by revisiting step 1 above.
To feel fear and choose love anyway? Now that will truly change the world.
Feeling powerless leads us to close our hearts to those in need. Find your power. You can donate as little as $5, and that donation – when added to thousands of others like it – adds up. We are donating through Doctors Without Borders and International Rescue Committee.
If money is tight for your family, get creative. I started a fund-raiser to help raise money for donating. What can you bring to the table? With a little creativity, you too can find a way.
5. Speak your truth.