Monday, September 2, 2013

Breaking Down Barriers with Love & Understanding

Two of the benefits of travelling so much are 1) I get to catch up on all of the movies I never seem to find the time to see in theaters and 2) I have a lot of time to think.

During this past trip, I had many, many hours on the plane.  I'll post about my trip later, but, before I do that, I want to tie together some movies that I saw & the thoughts that they provoked.

I saw two movies that got the wheels turning in my head.  They were completely different, however, after giving it some thought, I realized they shared some common themes.  I'll get to that later.

The first movie is called Don't Stop Believin': Everyman's Journey.  Here is the trailer: 

The movie is a documentary about the band, Journey, and their search for a new lead singer.  They end up finding this person in the most unexpected of places, Manila, Philippines, in the most unexpected of ways, through a search on YouTube.  The new lead singer's name is Arnel Pineda, and, prior to getting this break of his life, was a singer in a Journey cover band in Manila.  

The second movie was 42, the story of Jackie Robinson, who was the first African American to play in Major League Baseball.  Everyone has heard of Jackie Robinson, but I guess I never really thought about WHAT IT WAS LIKE when he entered into a league where he was the only man that wasn't white.  It was beautifully made and brought tears to my eyes.

So, how the heck are these two movies related?  Well, both of them in my mind are about breaking barriers and stereotypes.  Arnel Pineda had to endure much doubt & heckling when he tried to replace the former white "big hair" singer from Journey.  Jackie Robinson was attacked, both verbally and physically.  However, both rose above this and let their actions do the talking, rather than retaliating.  It's people like this who help to break down the barriers of society & make the world a better place.  It's shocking to me how hateful people can be, and for reasons that have nothing to do about who a person actually IS, but rather what they look like, what religion they practice, or who they choose to spend their lives with.  

I also spend a lot of time reading during my trips.  One of the magazines I read as much as possible is the Economist.  Going through the headlines this past trip, I found myself feeling really sad.  There is so much conflict in the world right now, and so much of it comes from pure hate.  What if people learned to love one another, to let each other live their lives as they want?  What a better place this could be. What different headlines we could find ourselves reading.

Over the years, being a member of Facebook has been fun.  Since college, it has been an interesting transition... the newsfeed has moved from college parties, to weddings, and now, it's a flurry of new babies being born.  What a perfect opportunity we all have to let this kind of hatred end.  It can end with us.  One of the most moving scenes in 42 was a short conversation between a father and son watching a baseball game.  The father stops talking to his son, and then starts screaming derogatory comments at Jackie Robinson.  You can almost see the light bulb click in his son's head, and then the little boy starts to scream the same things.  Our children repeat the things that they hear us say, whether or not they understand them.  The beliefs that they have are in many ways formed by us.  That is why we are all in a perfect position to help build a better world for tomorrow by teaching our children love instead of hate, to appreciate people for WHO they are, not where they come from or what god they do or don't worship.  

I apologize if this message seems "preachy" to some, but, I couldn't get these thoughts out of my head and my heart aches for all of the people in this world that are suffering because of hate.  We can make a difference in this world.  Let's start.

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