Monday, July 1, 2013

Lesson 22- Independence Days

Three Reasons Why The Past Is Not Better


noun : The quality or state of being independent. Related words: autonomy, freedom, self-determination, potency, power, resilience, strength


Have you ever wondered why things just can’t stay the same?

I have. Especially this summer, when so much around me is changing. This past week began my summer vacation with my granddaughter (who now wishes to be called Meadow).
In past years, our summer days meant me watching her toddle around- pointing to everything she saw, then squealing with delight. When I couldn’t see or hear her, I probably didn’t want to know what she was doing.

This summer Meadow walks from room to room, pointing out everything she can reach by herself. She shows me how my shoes almost fit her and that I am only a head taller. She uses words like ‘gigantic’ and ‘humongous’ to describe a word she is about to use- like ‘disposition’ or ‘uncertainty’. And when I don’t see or hear her, she is probably reading a book or writing in her journal.

Things Change

For Meadow, things changed exponentially when she learned to read. She reads books by herself, from cover to cover. She reads signs, instructions and box labels. It seems only yesterday she pulled things from grocery store shelves, wanting me to buy them for her.  Now she pulls boxes from shelves to have something to read.

For her it’s entertainment. It’s a challenge to see how many words she knows and can pronounce.  She knows reading is one more ticket to her independence. But it’s also a rite of passage. It’s hard for me. Because Meadow no longer needs me in the same way. (And because soon she will be taller than I am. And probably smarter.) The more she knows, the further she can go. As soon as we stand on our own, we move- whether our mothers like it or not.

Even if we could stay the same, would we want to?

Think about it. The best days of our lives are filled with things that are better than things before. Even the best day ever can be built on or learned from, creating a value or principle that can stay with us forever. We are not abandoning our roots; we are using them to shape the future.

We do what we do to get what we need.

We do what works. When something no longer works, we change it. The good old days are not forgotten. They are the impetus for good in the future.

 Progress is not always monumental. The invention of the cube-shaped box for tissues did little to advance society. But it did increase the number of places we could put tissues.  As population swells and water supplies shrink, changes are made to our management of resources. Small improvements here will affect us all.

When we know more, we can do more.

Meadow told me this one. And she is right. People who are oppressed don’t pray for things to stay the same. They dream of the day oppression no longer exists. They take every step they can, so that restrictions put on them will not be put on their children or grandchildren.

We may not be ready for all the changes around us. But when others are, we should pay attention.

Compassion is not new. Innovation is not new.  But tomorrow is new. It always will be.


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