Wednesday Words of Wisdom: Change starts with me

Gandhi quote

If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him.

Mahatma Gandhi

Since returning from BritMums Live last weekend, an event I enjoyed tremendously, I’ve been thinking a lot about why there were so few men present – although, I’m told, there were more than last year – and what can be done to encourage a few more to attend next year.

Of course, the easiest thing in the world would be to sit back, cross my fingers and hope for the best. But instead I decided to do something about it. I wrote a post sharing a few suggestions as to the kind of things that could be done to encourage more dads.

BritMums co-founder Susanna Scott was admirably quick off the mark to reach out welcoming feedback and ideas, and I’ve promised to come back to her with some thoughts. I’ve also received a wealth of well thought through responses – both agreeing and disagreeing – for which many thanks to everyone who has taken the time to respond.

Change can be a slow process. The paraphrased ‘be the change you want’ form of Gandhi’s words is a little simplistic, but the essential point remains the same: if you really want to change something, do something about it yourself.

The actual quote adds a little more nuance, suggesting that change first alters the perception of others, and while it may take a collective effort to implement meaningful and permanent change in our wider society, it still starts with a single individual influencing others to follow.

I’ve never really considered myself to be an activist. I don’t really think I am here – I’m hardly likely to be mistaken as the Che Guevara of BritMums – but it’s a first step. I’m happy enough to stick my neck out and say that I’d like things to be different, and that I’m willing to be an active participant in making that change happen. That’ll do for starters.

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