Creating a new type of world in which individuals and the community achieve spiritual and material prosperity requires recasting many core fundamental values. This requires that we dig, sometimes quite deeply, into our belief system to verify the implications on which each idea rests. In the case of racism for example, someone might think they are not racist only to have reactions when crossing paths with individuals of certain ethnic backgrounds that reflect their actual beliefs: fear of a group of African-American men walking on the street, being wary of an Asian shopkeeper, that sort of thing.
The defensiveness some stay-at-home moms feel could be due to a foundational idea so flawed that it infects the entire system. In a series of conversations with some of my friends who are stay-at-home moms, we came to realise that they were not cognizant of their own worth. Instead, they admire those who have a job and children, brushing off their daily work of that contributes to raising their beautiful, healthy children, to keeping a warm, happy, and welcoming home, and, for the most part, to practicing at least one serious hobby.
In came down to the fact that they felt worthless because they felt they were not contributing to the financial well-being of their household—which ironically enough is untrue—making them undermine everything they were contributing to all the other types of household well-being.
We were all stunned when this came to light. As one of them put it, “I know this, but I guess I don’t know know this.” After all, we know that income is not correlated to worth—let’s take a second to think of all the CEOs making billions of dollars a year while creating injustice and abusing our ecosystem. So these friends of mine should know that everything that they do—especially since so much of theirs days is about others, from their families to their communities—is very precious and important.
I think this is why the Bahá’í Faith talks not about change, but about transformation. Various toxic ideas have an almost insidious reach into our psyche. Much like the stones of a polluted river waterbed, we have to examine each thought and idea thoroughly to determine its validity and recast them in the light of a newer and better understanding and, for example, embrace the broadened view of the world a non-monetary value of worth gives us.
Image courtesy of Chad Mauger.