Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Katrina's Lesson: Compassion

The lesson that Katrina brings us is that compassion must be our first order of business.

The blessing that Katrina has brought us is to remind us we are, firstly, a loving nation of heroes.

Those heroes are in the streets and in the shelters. They are serving and donating. They are the common everyday people of these United States of America who continue to react with courage, love and faith to the devastation and horror caused by Hurricane Katrina.

But their values and principles are not mirrored in the policies of our current Administration.

While our people, clearly, believe that we are "all in this together," we have been under the rule of a political faction whose primary philosophy is that each of us should be left on our own to sink or swim, depending on whether or not we can afford a boat.

Many Americans are calling for an independent investigation to find out what "went wrong" in the response to Katrina. No doubt mistakes in judgment were made by several and these will be identified.

However, demanding an investigation in order to apportion blame to people is not going to help us prepare against future calamity. The people in charge today will be gone tomorrow. Only love and working together in crafting compassionate policies for the national good can help us.

I hve been highly critical of our current administration precisely because it has not operated out of love for the common good. It has set us against one another falsely, often either creating or exacerbating issues that drive us apart.

Tearing our national fabric apart for the purpose of winning elections and gaining power is morally bankrupt, especially given that chaos and destruction are the true "trickle down" effects of the ultra-conservative economic philosophy and policies that have been implemented as a result.

It is that philosophy which should be targeted for extinction, not FEMA, food stamps, our schools or the budget for repairing levees.

An independent investigation may or may not expose the lie in the philosophy that we do not need government to assist us in the protection of our people or promotion of our common good.

But whatever it shows, no investigation will give us a true picture unless it is independent from both politicians and our current administration.

Any investigation must have its own investigators, budget and subpoena authority.

What happened in New Orleans should never happen again. If we are to have an independent investigation, let us assure that it will give us the answers we need.

But the independent commission will not be the answer to our problems, only a tool for self-discovery. The answer lies in transforming the American heart.

We have been so busy being entertained, making a living and acquiring material possessions that we have been blind to the extreme poverty that exists in this nation and the damage that is being done to our land, rivers, coasts, air and seas.

We are each our brother's keeper. We are also custodians of the earth. We know that when we see the need, but we often live lives in which we are too busy to see what's really going on.

Americans need to slow down. We need to stop running around like chickens with our heads cut off.

We need to really start looking at people and listening to people, not media. It would benefit us to spend more time in nature, alone, communing with her.

Our greatest need is to spend time in silence, quiet our minds and allow God to inform us of what part He wants us to play in the healing of our nation and the world. And a big part we play is in raising our children.

In the new book, Freakonomics, economist Steven D. Levitt states that he found that what you do with your child is not really as important as how you do it.

A father himself, his statistics show that it is the quality of the human interaction between you and your children that most affects whether they will be happy, successful and well-adjusted...or not.

He indicated, during an interview, that his findings led him to understand that if a parent is running around, driving him or herself crazy taking a child to all sorts of "enriching" activities, that will transfer to the child and will have a negative effect.

Sitting on the floor and talking, being happy and relaxed in the moment will do more for your child than all other activities combined. Choosing the best-loved activity instead of fragmenting time and energies on too many, is the healthier route.

The lesson is clear. Relax, do less and concentrate on bringing more of what you really enjoy into your life.

Take enough time to do the things you want to do well.

Spend quality time just being with your child. Your child loves you and does not need a lot of toys. He or she does not benefit from being shuffled from one event to another. He will become an outstanding person with solid values simply by being bathed in your love and constant, steadfast behavior.

Learn compassion for yourself and it is easier to feel it for others.

Also it is not good for a soul to be without knowledge, And he sins who hastens with his feet. Proverbs 19:2

A man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry, for this will remain with him in his labor all the days of his life. Ecclesiastes 8:15

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine; but a broken spirit drieth the bones. Proverbs 17:22

Show mercy and compassion every man to his brother. Zechariah 7:9

2 Comments:

At 9/15/2005 12:05 AM, Blogger MAnDude said...

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At 9/15/2005 12:08 AM, Blogger MAnDude said...

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