The world didn’t come to an end in December 2012 as some had predicted based on the Mayan calendar, and 1 January 2013 brings the start of a new year for most of the western world including South Africa. Many other societies follow different calendars related to their religious and cultural beliefs. But they all have in common the concept of a new start – associated with traditions of cleaning, throwing out the old and starting afresh - just like a school child with a new book to write in.
So what do we plan for ourselves for 2013? New Year resolutions are so often related to our behaviours – things we are doing like smoking that we want to stop, or things that we are not doing like taking exercise that we plan to do – all personal plans for ourselves.
So although the world didn’t end in cataclysm as predicted – the world as it has been could end and we could create a new world if we collectively make a different set of New Year resolutions.
In 2012, Malala Yousufzaj a Pakistani school girl was shot because she promoted the education of girls, in South Africa school books in rural areas didn't arrive, and there was a death in a college registration rush, in the Western Cape and other areas attacks on lesbian women continue, internationally areas of war and violence are too numerous to mention and women and children generally suffer in such situations and education is prejudiced, in India a young women medical student died this week after being raped and physically attacked, and in South Africa violence against women and children continue daily. Why?
Sociologists can give us sophisticated analyses, but simply put beliefs determine attitudes and behaviour. In addition, having little education and living in poverty with no hope of work and chance for advancement generally don’t promote humanitarian instincts – or constructive conflict resolution. Some very special people do manage to rise above their circumstances and make positive contributions to their community.
Skills-universe is a community – a self-selected group of people the majority of whom are educating, developing, training, involved in human resource management, community work, managing people and promoting skills and knowledge amongst the present and future working generation. By this very work skills-universe members individually have the personal ability to make a difference to the world that we live in.
The challenge then is: when you think about your New Year resolutions for the coming year please make them with others in mind – what will you do in 2013 to make a difference to the people around you who are in need? Please share your thoughts (and lists) for constructive actions - no matter how big or small and we look forward to hearing from you.
Best wishes to all skills-universe members and your partners, extended families and friends for a constructive and successful 2013.