Ruth Vallis: If I Ruled the World

Reader's Digest Editors

Ruth Vallis is an author and physiotherapist from Toronto, Canada. She's been blind since before the age of 3, and has been an activist fighting for the rights of the blind since

Motherhood would be revered as equal to any executive position. 

The responsibility of giving and nurturing life is not held in high enough esteem in western society.  Consequently, women are often reluctant to admit they want to stay home and raise their children.  Furthermore, they are not remunerated adequately for doing so which makes it difficult to do and also makes a value statement about it as a career.  

Every mother would be issued with a rocking-chair and a cradle.  

William Ross Wallace penned, “The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.”  Therefore, every mother must have the tools of her trade to be able to offer calm comfort and soothing tenderness to her child, in order to prepare them for whatever opportunities lie ahead to rule.  

Every child would be taught braille and sign language.

Literacy and communication are two essential components for success in life. Braille is literacy for blind people and sign language is communication for the deaf.  If every child were proficient in both of these the exceptionality of them would be removed and accessibility a matter of course.  

Everyone would have access to a high standard of health-care and education. 

A healthy, educated society is a successful society.  We should start the way we mean to go on and that requires removing privilege designated by postal codes and economic fortitude. The needs of each of us should be met with a genuine concern and appreciation that talent and intellect may be found anywhere and must be nurtured everywhere in everyone.  

Every girl would be taught math, science and technology.  

Although there are still many places in the world where girls are not allowed to go to school and we must change this to ensure education for everyone, we must also address the number of girls who are still choosing to not pursue the maths and science programmes.  If we want to ensure that science and technology address the needs of women we must ensure that girls and women are developing the vaccines, medicines, robots, etc. that will meet those needs.  This does not diminish the importance of music, art, literature, etc. but, besides rocking the cradle, we must have the tools to rule our own world. 

Every home for the aged would have accommodations for university students and a day-care centre for young children.

In order to foster love and respect for the elderly we need to establish a comfort level stemming from regular interaction and familiarity.  This would also encourage the elderly to continue growing or, at least, prevent cognitive decline through exposure to youthful endeavours and introduction to new music and ideas.  The elderly would also broaden the youths’ experiences through introduction to more established pursuits and wisdom.  

Every business and establishment would have a sign clearly indicating, “Guide Dogs Welcome.” 

Although there have been guide dogs since 1929, there seems to be a severe lack of education on the role of such animals and the laws governing the rights of individuals to have them in public places.  This has often resulted in denying access which is humiliating to the handler.  A well trained, obedient dog brings dignity and safety to the person they are guiding.  Now, please understand, I am not suggesting the dog be welcomed on his own. They are not allowed to walk into a restaurant alone and chow down on a steak dinner no matter how much they might think they are worth it!  

Everyone would continue to be kind to each other. 

The one positive that has come out of COVID-19 is a greater awareness and sensitivity to the needs of others and the willingness of many to meet those needs.  If we can continue to extend kindness once the pandemic is behind us the world will be a better place.  There will still be elderly, disabled and lonely people and if we remember them and their needs we may help to decrease mental illness and increase the understanding that there is worth in everyone.  

Ruth E. Vallis, author of Love is Blind 

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