This I Believe
I believe you come, you are and you leave, and that each phenomenon is not equal but significant. Where, when and to whom you are born shapes your life, though good and bad circumstances have been overcome. This I believe. Where and to whom you are born matters more today than 50 or 100 years ago though those generations may contest this idea. Being born today in an advanced country means you are more likely to survive in a healthful state, have educational and work opportunities and if fortunate, your life can be less of a struggle. Being raised by loving people is a plus no matter where you’re born for their nurturing, ability to stimulate and train you in the ways they think are important mold your thoughts. This I believe whether you are born in a hut in a third world country or a mansion in the US.
And though ‘being’ is greatly dependent upon the genes and the environment, ‘being’ is how you use the life you’ve been given. I believe that if you have the ability and the willingness, you should help those less able. It’s pretty simple; those of us with the ability, the sensitivity, and the vision should assist those without. This extends to the environment of those same people. We should share our talents, imaginations, know how, spirit and resources with those less able. We should not ‘do’ for others but assist and nurture the ability within them. It’s the old ‘give a person a fish or teach them to fish’ idea. We are the nurturer of the soul and stewards of the land.
I have seen the needy and have helped in small ways, but my children have learned my lessons and done wonderful things. My daughter is an environmentalist of the first order choosing to promote saving the earth by educating children on the wonders of trees. As the mother of small children, she teaches them and others how to protect the earth often in small ways but she teaches it passionately. Working for various nonprofit organizations feeds her ideas and she continues to influence others through her efforts. And as emergency care parents, she and her husband are protecting and nurturing children as well.
“I hate to see people get pushed around’ is how my older son feels. Through community organizing and official unions, he has watched, demonstrated, changed the lives of and championed the people and families of those in need. He worked in Dallas and San Antonio with the Hispanic communities to help them help themselves have better schools, safer streets, reasonable health care and adequate food. He worked in New Orleans to secure better pay and work conditions for the garbage trunk ‘hoppers’. He worked in NC to help women in Duplin County set up a health care center. He worked for the ACILS, the international branch of the AFLCIO, in Cambodia to assist the unions there to negotiate for decent conditions and wages. He now works on the campaign to create better work conditions for the employees of Wal-Mart and similar companies.
My younger son is an organic farmer in Nicaragua where he is a nonprofit force for good. The local villages work and play with him while he brings free vitamins, dental supplies, shoes, stoves which remove the soot and smoke from their homes_an important improvement over the three stone variety_books, composting toilets for the schools, new growing, grafting and fertilizing of nut and fruit trees, a morning milk and egg program for three-six year olds, the know-how to remodel a café, materials so local sewers can make school uniforms_a must for attending school_and he brings needed supplies for the children and much more.
I believe these people came, saw, acted and are benefiting those less able.
And I believe that when they depart, they will have left a legacy with the children they’ve raised and influenced, the people they have helped, the friendships they’ve shared, the beauty they’ve planted literally and figuratively, the warmth of memory they’ve generated, the lessons and stories they’ve learned, the humor, compassion, common sense they’ve passed on, the love they’ve shared, the impressions they’ve left on the lives of others. This is what is there after they leave this life.
I believe we come, we ‘are’ and we leave, but ‘being’ is the important part and the essence of us is carried on. This I believe.
And it should be done with joy and laughter!
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