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Are we living too globally?

Over the past several months, I've been doing a lot of thinking.  In light of recent tragedies both in the U.S. and abroad - whether domestic issues or terrorist activities - I've begun to take a look at myself and what I can do to make a difference.  I want to make a difference so that my children do not grow up seeing violence and hate everywhere they go.  I want my children to understand that they can make a difference in the grander scheme of life.  But, how do I teach them to do this?

One question that keeps coming to mind is whether or not we are living in a world that thinks too globally instead of locally.  Technology and social media have allowed us to view atrocious acts of violence and deprivation throughout the world.  Acts which need people to step in to stop and change for the better.  We need people and organizations who are willing to act globally.  However, as I look at the community around me, this same technology and social media has caused a great divide in our local communities and neighborhoods.  Kids and teenagers don't play outside as much.  Neighbors don't talk to one another - sometimes they don't even know one another.  We have stopped supporting the people directly beside us and; therefore, allowed division to take place and we have become blinded to when tragedies are forming or happening in our own neighborhoods...until they make the news and start trending on our social media accounts.

Living locally does not mean that we stop looking at the global issues surrounding us.  In fact, it can mean quite the opposite.  Welcoming all neighbors - including refugees - to our communities and helping them establish their homes is the first step we can do to live locally.  Learning about our neighbors by talking to them - or at least saying hi - is the second step.  Not only will this teach our children the true definition of "being social" but it will also teach them about hospitality, friendship, diversity, and so much more.

Over the past several years, I have established a semi-relationship with a woman who walks past my house every single day.  She came to the U.S. as a refugee and continues to praise the U.S. for all that it has provided for her and her family.  Her grandchildren are growing and learning in an environment free from daily acts of violence and fear.  I have learned more about global and historical issues from her than any other person I know.  ...and it started out by simply saying "hi" as she was passing my house.  This turned into, "How are you?" Which has grown into a better understanding of the people living around me.  The funny thing is, all of this has happened throughout the course conversations that have been less than five minutes in length and only when we happen to be outside at the same time.

Do we care too much about what happens on the other side of the world instead of in our own backyards?  While my answer to this question still sways back and forth, I think there is a lot of benefit to making better attempts at living locally.  After all, as a parent, it takes a village to raise a child - and while I can rely on lots of advice and opinions online, it's my neighbors who I go to when I truly need help.

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