How We Can Learn From Our Past to Create a Better Future

We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.   -Native American proverb

 Every single day we are writing the stories of our lives and contributing our part to the great story of our world.

All of history, ancient and modern, can teach us lessons about our own lives and why our cultures are shaped the way they are. The stories of the past show us where we all came from and how we are similar and part of one big Earth family.

Throughout history, cultures and civilizations have come and gone, all leaving a mark on our planet and history books. But were we really that different from the people that lived before us?

Can the history of the past connect us closer to other people on the planet in modern day?

Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem

Yes! The stories that have been passed down and told over generations show how our ancestors perceived the world and lived their daily lives. By learning about the reason for certain myths and development of religions, we can understand more about the context and why those certain texts were written and events happened. It gives us a little glimpse into the similarities and connectivity of our many civilizations and religions.

Ultimately, with the goal of creating deeper understanding between cultures and people, we can create a more peaceful world.

Our histories have shaped who we are as beings. As a Native American tradition says, the memories and DNA of our ancestors flow within ours, therefore their memories and experiences are within each of us. We are not as separate as we think from the past generations or our history. Each and every day we are living and creating history.

Yesterday is already history. What will you write in the history book of your life?

 

Church in Greece

 

One of the main reasons I believe why there is conflict in this world in present day is because of our lack of understanding between communities, countries, governments, or religions. Throughout the world some people have almost boxed themselves into their own comfort zones and mentalities, and cannot or don’t want to understand different cultures or religious views.

Instead of trying to learn or understand more, some people or entire nations have immediately labeled  nationalities or religions a certain way, which has led to a rise racism and hatred in our societies. My dream is to re-write the narrative of communication between people and create an atmosphere of greater understanding and seeing from another person’s point of view. I dream of a day when we can relate to people of all cultures and religions, and just see them for who they are, without pre-conceived judgement.

 

Selfie time with girls in Luxor, Egypt

So how can we achieve this? 

It all starts from stories – opening up our hearts, sharing our personal experiences, and being able to put ourselves into other people’s shoes and see where they have been in their story on this planet.

During all of my travels I have met people from all over the world who have shared their story and the history of their culture. I have been blessed with such insight into so many cultures and beliefs because people told me the stories. I feel that I know the real stories now and not just the stereotype or label. 

I have met so many Syrian and Afghan refugees that I have gotten so close to and I have realized that we all had one thing in common – we dreamed of love and happiness. We connected on a level that was so deep and strong because we understood each other’s stories, and didn’t judge one another for our religion or cultural background. My life changed thanks to those kids. After hearing the story of hardship and pain and connected with them on a human level, I saw how they were teenagers just like me, and that it could have been me in that same situation. It took away the fear of “refugees” and turned them into real friends – my story changed from that time on.

Refugee kids in Greece

 

One experience like that can reshape the way you see the world, because you now know that we are all human on this Earth, and are in need of basic things, happiness, and love. Nobody enjoys living in war, famine, poverty, or solitude. We all crave community, connections, safety, and a roof over our head.

These concepts transcend border walls and languages. 

In your daily life, start by asking people’s stories and researching more about other cultures. You can start by researching your own cultural heritage and where your family came from and what they experienced during their lifetime. Start to get to know people in your city or community from different places and hear their story and learn about their culture. 

Our common world history can truly teach us about where we all have come from and inspire us all to move forward into our futures more connected and loving. By seeing how far we have already come, we can look forward with a new perspective. 

Wishing you a beautiful and peaceful day, 

Kaitlin Siena

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