German philosopher Schopenhauer said in the 19th C ” First it is ridiculed. Then it is violently opposed. Finally it is accepted as self evident” I don’t know if it is still this simple but I have seen my world change from individualistic and self interested to more caring and other centered. It isn’t the norm, yet, to acknowledge our collective responsibility for each other but I have witnessed a shift in that direction.
When we began promoting the make it your problem philosophy and practice, in 2007, we were derided as naive and foolish. “Why should I take care of hungry kids when it is the parents or government’s responsibility.” ” No one is going to step up to make it their problem, when they don’t believe that it is.”
Institutions, departments and bureaucracy tried to stop us in our tracks with regulations, rules and threats. The momentum had already shifted towards caring and we acted as if what we were suggesting and doing was already fully accepted. We constantly asked for forgiveness rather than permission and brought thousands along for the ride. The issue we chose to express MiYP now has a local solution but vigilance is needed as I am hearing rumblings of a more impersonal universal program being introduced.
My MiYP lens makes observing other problems and issues being addressed by people becoming involved rather than absolved. The 2013 flood in Calgary saw more than 25,000 people step up and do what they could rather than waiting for ‘someone else’.
Local and international issues and disasters need each of us, all of us, to do something that fits our ability and comfort. Making a difference doesn’t happen through institutions, it happens through me, you, us.