OPINION

Be an influence that benefits all humanity

When I was a child, having things that belonged to me was important. I would keep them in my room, in my drawers and cupboard, and I knew where the important things were.

We all have stories of being cross when our siblings got into our stuff. Perhaps we shoved them out the way to get to our things; to make sure nothing was lost, damaged or broken. It's a spontaneous reaction without much thought. It's something I was scolded for, and I'm grateful that I was.

I learned to understand others are ultimately more important than possessions.

The lessons learned in childhood shape who we are as adults, so we are then able to carry these values and understanding into adulthood.

Personal possessions are good to have. They remind us of special occasions, they are gifts from those we love, they are things with meaning and also things we need in this life. But what happens when they become our obsession, resulting in us wanting more than what we necessarily need? We run the risk of shoving aside those around us to get to those material possessions that occupy our heart.

I recently read about a plane crash in Russia that claimed 41 lives when the plane was struck by lightning and, upon landing, burst into flames.

One witness was shocked that some people ran from the plane with their luggage, possibly delaying the evacuation by choosing to retrieve their belongings from the overhead lockers.

The words he used to describe his shock were simply: "God is their judge."

A tragedy brings out the best or worst in a person. And I think it depends on the person, not the tragedy. We all react differently in times of trauma or emotional upset and can sometimes react in such a way that we regret it later.

It grabbed my attention, as I felt sadness for those families who lost their loved ones. But also at how it outlines how we need to be careful that possessions never trump the importance of human life.

A tragedy brings out the best or worst in a person. And I think it depends on the person, not the tragedy.

We all react differently in times of trauma or emotional upset and can sometimes react in such a way that we regret it later.

In today's world, so much emphasis is put on how much we have got, how much we can get, and that this will somehow fulfill us. It sets an unfortunate precedent for this becoming the norm, which can influence our decisions regarding situations where human life is concerned.

Have we become so preoccupied with materialism, possessions and status that we run the risk of overlooking how to react when another life is in danger?

I like to muse that humanity would never stoop this low.

I would like to think that the human heart will always understand the importance of human life, no matter the situation.

We need to strive for the understanding that each individual human being has unique worth; something that must be taught from a young age.

To be taught how others - especially the very young, elderly and those who may need a little more care - are unique and just as valuable as those who are strong and able.

Defending and protecting life is something that should come naturally to the human heart without reservation. A society that encourages this has a bright, fulfilling future. This sort of future starts with each generation being nurtured by love and given an understanding as to why they are loved.

Understanding this will encourage them to practice this love through their entire life and pass it on to the next generation.

Each generation influences the direction of humanity. Let it be an influence that benefits humanity without leaving anyone to be damaged or discarded in the direction it takes.

Consider carefully the decisions you make in life and how it may affect another. Choices matter.

Sometimes even thoughtless, seemingly small decisions people knew were bad, end up mattering a lot. One day, each of us will be faced with our own mortality.

It is more beneficial then to us, to our soul, that we unselfishly love others enough so that we would readily give away the possessions of this world to ensure the safety and happiness of another.

Twitter: @fatherbrendanelee