Friday, February 26, 2016

Carol A. Hand

This morning as I watched parents walking their small children to the elementary school close to my house, I was reminded of something I wrote a few days ago. I drew a simple picture to illustrate the trusting innocence and vulnerability of my granddaughter as she fell asleep early during her last visit.

Ava sleeping 2016

When I think about my study of Ojibwe child welfare from the distance of time, I realize something both simple and profound – the purpose of life. To preserve the health of our earth home and all of her children. My heart glows with the realization.
It’s so simple in theory but so difficult to accomplish. There are so many habits and social structures that get in the way.

I’m reminded of simpler, perhaps mythic days in the past. I imagine a traditional Ojibwe culture that knew this purpose and tried to live it. A culture that didn’t rely on large “domesticated” animals and machines to do their work, but instead, built their communities on a sophisticated technology of people working together. Everyone was encouraged to find his or her path and contribute their skills to the tasks of environmental stewardship and community survival. They knew that the earth and her children were sacred gifts.

Whether it’s merely an imaginary view of the past or not, it suggests to me the best that could be. In my heart and mind it feels true. The question remains. How do we get there when our habits and structures have made us lose the way there?

I think of my granddaughter. She was staying with me last night. She has her own space, a little office that’s rather cluttered with a cot, small table, book cases and file cabinets. But it’s her private space when she’s here. And she plays, draws, sings, and makes up stories.

Last evening, her room grew quiet so early. When I peeked in, I saw her curled up with my shawl as her only cover. I covered her with all the extra blankets I could find – it was a frigid night. I was touched by her trust and fragility. I realized as one person, there is only so much I can do to keep her safe and comfortable. It requires a community and culture that cares. The social structures in the world today aren’t built for that purpose.

It’s worth remembering that other options are possible…

 

Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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About Carol A. Hand

What matters are not the titles I’ve held or university degrees I earned or the size of a house or bank account. It’s really what I’ve learned from ordinary people like me whom I’ve met along the way. They taught me to live with gratitude and give thanks for each new day.
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29 Responses to Friday, February 26, 2016

  1. Maremma Gee says:

    This is a very powerful realization…I will be moving to Kenya in the near future with my family and find their social structure and values to be much more aligned to the family.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Alok Singhal says:

    You have some very profound thoughts laid out here…we are slowly dwindling away from what we should have been as humans.

    A beautiful work you did of her!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful comments, Alok.

      (I appreciate your comments even more after reading your most recent post 🙂 . I too wonder about the need to post 100 times a day and gather thousands of followers. But I also realize how easy it is to allow the comparative competitive “me” culture of social media distort the original purpose for our activities.)

      Liked by 2 people

  3. sojourner says:

    You never cease to touch and instruct, Carol!

    You wrote:

    “I’m reminded of simpler, perhaps mythic days in the past. I imagine a traditional Ojibwe culture that knew this purpose and tried to live it. A culture that didn’t rely on large “domesticated” animals and machines to do their work, but instead, built their communities on a sophisticated technology of people working together. Everyone was encouraged to find his or her path and contribute their skills to the tasks of environmental stewardship and community survival. They knew that the earth and her children were sacred gifts.”

    This sounds like heaven to me. It sounds like a place, a world, where every child, woman and man could experience a life worth living.

    I can imagine that your granddaughter is content, secure and at peace, because she is so blessed to have you in her life!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for such lovely comments, Sojourner.

      I worry about the future my grandchildren will inherit. So many people in the world at present aren’t able to find their gifts and use them to create new, hopeful possibilities.

      Liked by 1 person

      • sojourner says:

        You are not alone in your fear, Carol. My closest friends are extremely concerned for their children and grandchildren, and rightly so.

        I have a forty year old stepson, but I never had children of my own.

        And yet I am still concerned for the generations alive now and the ones to come.

        This is one of the reasons I continue to blog. I am not physically or financially capable of doing much at all. So I continue to do this, even though, quite often, it takes a toll on my mental and emotional health.

        There’s another CSN&Y tune, I Almost Cut My Hair, do you know this one.

        The lyric states, in giving a reason for having long hair and keeping it, “I feel as if I owe it to someone.”

        Well that’s why I continue to blog, I feel like I owe it to my brothers and sisters to do anything I can to help.

        And at the moment, this is all I can do!

        And you are welcome, Carol! You are one of the bright lights in this very dark world!

        Dave

        If

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you for sharing your experiences and insights, Dave. Giving voice to truth is especially important these days. I’m grateful that you continue to do so.

          And of course, the mention of CSN&Y led me on an an exploration to listen to their song. The next video up automatically on Youtube’s newer feature is a must-see, too (well, on the version I’m posting, only the lyrics show): All Along the Watchtower (by Dylan, U2 performing) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bR6KaLLwfeo

          (By the way, I did cut my hair a few months ago 🙂 )

          Liked by 1 person

        • sojourner says:

          Thanks, Carol! I cut both of my hairs as well;-)

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Steve Thornburg says:

    Carol
    I always enjoy your posts even if I don’t always tell you. I found this one particularly provoking because of the sadness I sense you feel at the failure of social structures to adequately care for your people. Unfortunately, its not just the Ojibwe that suffer so. I have been pondering this social suffering for a while now and keep coming back to the lessons taught by George Orwell in 1984.
    We are, in fact, living in an Orwellian nightmare and this text should be required reading. To wit, “who controls the past controls the future, and who controls the present controls past”. If the past was blissful, we would attempt to recreate it, but if the past was horrid we will accept that our present masters have saved us from it and abide by their goals. A brief review of the evidence (e.g megalithic structures) suggests that our not too ancient past was magnificent, but we have been told it was savage and thus we cling to this distorted view of modernity through technological advancement and consumerism. I believe that by re-remembering our past we can recreate a new paradigm with new goals and sustainable values. You just have to keep reminding people that it wasn’t always this way. Peace.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for sharing such important, thought-provoking histories and insights, Steve. I sometimes nostalgically recall the “hard times” in my own life when people had to work together and share the little they had.

      As you point out, there is so much needless suffering in the world. More technological diversions are not a life-enhancing answer.

      I do wish I could do more to change that. But all I can do at the moment is to reflect and write. I’m deeply grateful for virtual friends like you who take conversations to deeper levels. Again, thank you and peace to you, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. hsampson says:

    Wow! This is so beautiful Carol! Reminded me of my daughters where they were little!! Thank you for sharing !!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh wow, Carol, this is so very touching and profound! It made me feel warm and good inside. You have a beautiful heart and spirit and that’s why your granddaughter put her ultimate trust in you. Yes she is fragile but there is great strength in her fragility and yours. Love and hugs, N 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Carol, this sacred desire to protect and nurture has been the theme in the conversations I’ve had this week. It seems to be on the mind of each person I speak with, elder and young adult alike. The challenge of loving, caring, and nurturing, remains, but our resources for doing so seem so diminished. I love those moments of trust with our grandchildren, even as I did with their parents. Your post was a gift of remembering.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. smilecalm says:

    my kid
    inside
    understands 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  9. themomfred says:

    ❤️ I so agree with you, but how to reverse the path of “progress”?
    Perhaps if everyone took baby steps and tried to do what ever was in their capacity, to reconnect with the earth, they, or I should say we, could nudge things in the right direction.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for such thoughtful comments, Belinda. You have raised the crucial question and suggested a reasonable solution. As you point out, it seems to be up to each of us to do our best, to do those positive, constructive things that are within our power to do.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. steelcityman says:

    Ah ! Carol…..Yours is the blog I search for first, your words have a way of penetrating even the hardest of hearts….I too fear for the future of, not just my three grand daughters, but all the next generation’s youth, our future…… If only more people shared your philosophy on life we would all be in a happier place … much love, Pat.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Pat, it’s always such a pleasure to hear from you. I appreciate your important thoughts about the future for all children, and send thanks for your kind words.

      But I do have a question for you on a totally different topic. One of my favorite TV shows (only watched on Netflix a decade after I retired) is Star Trek Voyager. Of course, I loved Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc, too. I’m just curious about your thoughts on your favorite series, episodes, and characters 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • steelcityman says:

        I too am a Star Trek fan and have had a crush on Captain Janeway for years .. Lol ❤️ I think HEROES is my fave TV series.. Complex plots but very enjoyable. There’s something about a Super Hero …😳. I quite like the rather raunchy ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK too (don’t know what that says about me !!!) But, more than that I love to read …any good book but mainly Sci-fi or anything with dwarves and Orcs in it+ the odd elf .

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Tiny says:

    A wonderful and thoughtful post, Carol. I like the concept, pretty much forgotten today, of people working together and accomplishing so much without hurting anything or anyone.

    Liked by 1 person

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