Dear Readers: Every year during the symbolic time of the holidays, I ask the panelists what they wish for the world. Reaching out to others and the earth, the need for community mind over individual mind -- these are this year's themes. To our whole human family, Happy Holidays! -- Lauren
Nicole, 23: My wish is that people open their minds to others' words, thoughts, and feelings. I see a great strength in humanity -- and a greater strength in community and unity. I pray that people will respect themselves, strangers, enemies, and the earth, on a level never reached before.
Hasan, 21: I ask that we teach compassion instead of encouraging self-interest. Too often we are taught to fight for personal goals and motivations, no matter what stands in our path. From kindergarten through college, I was very much encouraged to work toward a career as a compartmentalized individual unit, profiting primarily myself. This approach is incorrect. Instead parents and teachers must promote careers that aspire to benefit all humanity. Through this, I believe we can begin disassociating from nationalistic tendencies and recognize our common bond as citizens of the same earth.
Colin, 19: I would fix our broken educational system. I believe the effect would ripple outward more than any other action.
Taylor, 15: We are so wrapped up in time, money, and appearances we have forgotten the natural world. There is little escape from the constant media hum playing with our minds, manipulating our thoughts. Depression, addiction, identity-searching, self harm, attention, and eating disorders are more widespread than ever. In 2013, I want to live fully in the present while accomplishing set goals. I want to attend a dance… and actually dance, proud of who I am, not ashamed. I want to leave the media behind and explore Mother Nature.
Brie, 21: New to San Francisco, I unknowingly walked through the Tenderloin on my way to work. Drug addicts were everywhere, prostitutes, pimps, the works. People were buying heroin and crack right in front of me and offering them to me, too. Never have I felt more unsafe -- or more grateful for a sheltered childhood. It made me angry that there were no police, that these people aren't getting help.
Katie, 19: The Connecticut grade-school shooting devastated me. The mental state of someone in so much pain that they believe killing is the answer is horrible to imagine. We must reach out and include those who are rejected or bullied. One small act of unconditional love toward a fellow human can change someone's day. And that day can change a life.
Christina, 20: Lack of understanding is the root of human problems. Assumptions lead to bullying, hatred, and discrimination. If people cared enough to understand where another is coming from, it would resolve disputes and decrease violence.
Peter, 25: I would make giving an automatic human behavior, where everyone donated as much to charities as they spent on coffee.
Contact Straight Talk TnT at www.StraightTalkTnT.org.
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