Anna Frank – some reflections

gordon-email-reflections-on-workI’ll be honest, I’ve never read Anne Frank’s Diary. As a kid, I watched the tv show made by the BBC, we studied her in History a little, and as a young adult I went to visit her house.

At Christmas, both Ainsleigh and Baeleigh read and fell in love with her diary. They were captivated by her experience.

Knowing there were some really powerful life lessons learned from that book, we decided to make an additional stop on the “big trip,” a one-day stop in Amsterdam.

The house has some really good improvements to the tourist’s experience since the late nineties. They now do online ticket sales, so we didn’t need to stand in a long queue, we just purchased the ticket 2 months in advance. And they now have an awesome handheld audio tour. The only downside is, the bookcase which blocked the annexe is now no longer movable, it is encased in glass.

Human greatness does not lie in wealth or power, but in character and goodness. – Anne Frank

I guess never reading the diary myself, I hadn’t appreciated some of the great attitudes or of Anna. But with the audio tour quoting some of the diary, I was delighted my twins had read it.

Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart. – Anne Frank

In today’s world, we make celebrity out of people who sing, act or folk who rant on social media. For an ordinary child, who shares good values through a traumatic experience, to be made a role model,  well I am all for that.

And while the museum only really tells her story, it by default makes you wonder about our world in 2017. Could this happen again? Is this happening today? It makes you think about views towards refugees, immigrants, votes on independence and votes throughout the world for far-right populist politicians.

In the West, I don’t think we have figured out how to live in a secular society that celebrates each others’ culture, or where people can celebrate their own culture. But rather we live in a secular world, where it is not okay to wear religious symbols, not okay to teach young people science or values through the lens of them being created, but rather live in an individualist world, where young people should live for good times, power and wealth.

As a Christian, I feel more in common with anyone who practices any major faith tradition, who views their life as part of a bigger story, who feels a responsibility for creation, than the viewpoint of self-interest and self-honour. Yet I am told to fear these other people.

We need to figure out how to secular society well, we are reminded by Anne Frank’s story, the importance of secular societies not imposing its own values. We are not doing secular society well when people are segregated, when we fear immigrants, when we value individualism over community and values a belief in atheism over God.


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