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Australia – Where to next?

By Ella Skeers.

My daughter Ella wrote this for a Year 6 speech on multiculturalism. She was kind enough to allow me to post it here and share it with you.

Australia. A multicultural place as they call it. Every day as we walk the city, we see differences on the outside. Skin colours, disabilities, cultures, age and more. Our differences are spread around the country as I speak. The way we look with our freckles and hair colours and our own body shapes.

We also have different thoughts to one another in our minds. The mind feeds the way we think, how smart we are and how we make different decisions. It is also where our beliefs and ideals come from. There are lots of different beliefs and ideals all around the world. We are not born with these beliefs but instead we are taught them from our families, communities and friends. We grow up to believe a certain religion; that girls should act one way and boys another; that competition is good for us; that we should dress a certain way and that we should aim to get the highest marks at school. Once we have been introduced to these beliefs it can stick with us for our whole lives.

In the future we might look around and see that these differences on the outside and in our minds, aren’t actually that important. We might choose instead to see the ways that we are all similar. Now before you scrunch up your face in confusion, I want you to look around. If we take the time to look, we can see that we all have a face, two legs, two arms, a heart and a torso.

Now listen, can you hear yourself and others breathing?

We all need the same oxygen to live. We have the same, blood flowing in our veins, we all have a brain, and we all have a mouth and vocal cords to express how we feel. Talking about feelings. Feelings are something that we’ve all experienced before. It’s universal. It’s something each human being can relate to with each other.

Think about a time when you have experienced disappointment.

Let’s say that I missed an exciting holiday last year because of covid. I’m a bit down in the dumps, but then I remember a time my friend was feeling a bit gloomy and disappointed too. When we feel disappointment for example, we all feel the same. The same to our brothers and sisters. Our friends and our teachers. We all feel the same frustrated and defeated feelings. The tightness rising through our chest, our hands clasped together, and a heavy, downhearted sensation starts running through our body. Perhaps in the future, what is next for us, is that we can help people out when they are experiencing these feelings, so that their faces sparkle again.

Living like this in the future, from a place of embracing our similarities rather than focusing on our differences, may bring us closer together. When this is spreading through our environment, we may start to feel a subtle change. Helping and healing others may feel weird and strange at first, but maybe just maybe will we see a change in ourselves and others.

Some people in the past have tried to refocus us on our similarities and narrow the distance that we are apart, for instance William Shakespeare.

Shakespeare wrote fantastic plays and turned them into stunning performances in the 1500’s. He built the Globe Theatre specifically for the poor. One of his most famous plays, Romeo and Juliet, is about two families who have hated each other for as long as anyone can remember. The daughter and son of each family fall in love. Their love is forbidden. This story keeps you on the edge of your seat and has a great moral. I learnt that it doesn’t matter what family you are in or religion that you believe, all that matters is to follow your heart and not judge a person on their outsides.

Here is a quote from Shakespeare’s play called Othello:

“Oh, beware, my lord, of jealousy:

it is a green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on.”

When I first read this Shakespeare quote, I was confused. It made no sense! Then after reading it again, I realised what it was saying. This quote tells the reader that jealousy, the green-eyed monster, not only attacks others, but it attacks yourself. It warns us, not to compare ourselves with others, but instead focus on our similarities’ rather than our differences.

With our differences behind our backs and our similarities held high, this might be the place where Australians will end up in, in100- or 200-years’ time, or perhaps sooner.

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