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We Can Do Better

“Hush now baby, baby, don’t you cry. Mama’s gonna make all your nightmares come true. Mama’s gonna put all her fears into you.” Roger Waters

If there was something I learned early in life is that the world is very cruel, not indifferent but downright outright evil. 

compassion photoThere were two aspects of life as a young child. The things that went on behind closed doors and things that were happening in the neighborhood. On the outside maybe things looked good to others. My parents had purchased a big house in a neighborhood called ‘snob hill’. But the shiny apple was rotten within and without. For all of my life, my parents never got along. Things improved when my parents retired but there were decades of discord to live through. The neighborhood was full of callous bullies with foul mouths and arrogant attitudes.

I had a good friend up the hill and together we explored the rich wilderness that surrounded our neighborhood. At that time there were still acres of untouched woodland to visit and examine. There is a lot to be said about nature and the positive nurturing aspects of its beauty. These excursions provided a relief from the day to day agony of my life. Still, I could never truly escape my problems.

Grade school and high school to me were miserable. I was bullied and mocked, always on the outside looking in. I don’t think there was very much love in our community and a lot of antagonisms. There were a handful of kids who seemed to deal well with everybody. But as a group, we were fractured and divided. There were the bandies, the jocks, the nerds, the burnouts, the freaks, and others like myself on the outside.

I do not know if my mental illness was a direct result of my environment.  That is if I had some pleasant childhood and upbringing would I still have a mental illness today? I will never know the answer to that and at this point in my life, it is immaterial. All I can say for certainty that the nervous anxiety and dread that I felt wasn’t healthy for my mental health. My grandmother had a mental illness so I am certain that there is some heredity involved.

My concern is about the generations to come. We as a society can do better. I firmly believe that all of these school shootings would disappear if we learned how to live in a more harmonious and compassionate way. There was a person who at worked would joke and say if I came to shoot up the office give him a warning so he wouldn’t show up at work. At times I am tempted to call the company and tell him not to show up for work. But I think if I ever did that my ‘friend’ wouldn’t take it as a joke anymore and they would rightly call the police.

I have seen a lot of cruelty in this world and it is just not the way to live. I also have seen a lot of kindness and I can guarantee you that it is the way to live. The purpose of society should be to provide for one another and to support one another in times of need. When one is doing well they should give full support to those who are not doing well. For those who are doing poorly, they should feel no ill. Instead, society, as it exists today, is only to allow the safe continuation of commerce.

Charity starts at home and it starts in the neighborhood. But we need to go beyond that and reach out to the downtrodden and the weakest in our community. We should consider the poor as if we were destitute ourselves. If things continue to go the way that they are going things will turn violent.  As a pacifist, I am not certainly not making any threats, but rather as a student of history, I am telling you what is to come. The middle class is dwindling and the buffer between the rich and the poor is vanishing. When people get hungry and homeless desperation sits in. This leads to resistance and violence.

But we don’t have to walk that path. We can turn things around. Again as a student of history, I know that the rich will not capitulate a penny without being forced to do so. If the poor can organize we will win. After all, if the workers stop working society ends, period. In the disturbing times to come, we must keep our focus on the just world that we want to build. But the foundations of tomorrow begin this moment, how do you treat others?

I am so super excited about my new book “Without The Music” It took me thirty years to write it!!!  You heard of ‘slow hand’ well I guess I’m ‘slow pen’! These are the best of my song lyrics from that time. It’s a big book that you can write in to put down chord progressions and notes. If your a musician/composer you just might find a number one hit!!!

We Can Do Better

John Kaniecki

John Kaniecki is a full-time caregiver for his wife Sylvia. He is a published writer and works with the Church of Christ. John has lived with bipolar for over thirty years and has been hospitalized nine times, three of which were committed. John has chronicled his life story in his memoirs "More Than The Madness". Also of note is John's book of poetry "Murmurings Of A Mad Man" which are poems written about being committed in Graystone Psychiatric Hospital. John believes in the power of words to change the world for the better. His website can be seen here. His books can be seen on Amazon. You can visit his personal blog "Turn A Page Or Two" here.

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APA Reference
Kaniecki, J. (2018). We Can Do Better. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 26, 2019, from


Last updated: 2 Aug 2018
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