These are words by Nelson Mandela from his book “Long Walk to Freedom” and quite recently it was a trending twitter post by former American President Barack Obama. What is it about these words that seem to have touched millions of people?
It is quite simple to understand why these words have a profound effect on us during these times. You don’t need a college degree to decipher the simple yet powerful meaning behind these words. They make us pause, step back and understand why people become angry and hate each other for the simple things – the way they dress, choice of partners, cultural differences – the list does not end here.
We were not born into this world having a choice of place, race, color or religion. We also did not have a choice of the society that would shape our thoughts, voices and minds at a young age. It does seem unfair – to have to think, speak or even move in a certain way – a way society deemed was right.
But we do have a choice as we grow older. As we learn, listen and begin to understand, we can make choices that define us. We might not have had a choice when we were young, impressionable and believed all we were told. We definitely have it now.
Once we may have used distasteful language, thought thoughts about people influenced by what we did not know or were taught, but we do have a choice now to educate ourselves and grow. To make the right decisions and pass on to future generations – values, creeds and character that will shape our society. After all we become society.