Monday, January 25, 2010

What Good At All?

I am heartsick this morning.

With Twitter technology and online communities such as Facebook, we all have a platform now on which to declare our thoughts, opinions, and a daily snapshot of our lives. All of us are published. We also have a “bird’s eye” view into each others’ lives when those on our friends’ list post a daily status. From the heart the mouth speaks, and the whole world knows about it in real time.

Most of the time, I enjoy these updates. It’s always fun to connect with those who are too far away to be with all the time. I love it. But sometimes these declarations make my heart stop. I recently had one of my former students post a message that basically asked why we should give a shit about Haiti, a country that has been hit with a devastating 7.0 earthquake, especially since that country doesn’t contribute anything to the United States? Really?

Wow.

Not only was I left reeling at his apparent lack of human empathy, I was shocked by his classmates, also my babies, who “liked” his post, who left comments supporting what I believe to be self-absorbed and ignorant disregard. How many of them would be so quick to jump on this bandwagon if they were suddenly dropped into the middle of this horrific disaster and actually had to look into the eyes of the destitute and dying?

Surely they could not be so callous then. Could they?

I wanted to post, I wanted to SCREAM, “How about compassion?” but I’m pretty sure that would only result in a barrage of hateful responses from their friends and relatives criticizing me for being one of those “bleeding hearts” because that’s usually the mode of operation for anybody who dares to disagree online. Attack. Lash out. Don’t pause. Don’t ponder. Never contemplate criticism. That would show weakness. But my heart does bleed. It seems like there are people who think I should be ashamed for my bleeding heart, but I am not. If no one else is going to apologize for being caustic, then I’m certainly not going to apologize for crying out for mercy.

Perhaps I should have posted something sarcastic like, “THEN LET THEM EAT CAKE!” but somehow, I just don’t think they’d get it. So I posted nothing.

I am sad today. I’m sad. How can my babies, who have spent an entire year of their lives in my loving arms, walk away from the real-life lessons of love and compassion that I’ve tried to teach them? It makes me wonder what good I was to them.

What good at all?

12 comments:

Coach Mapes said...

You sure aren't the only one to feel that pain Cuz...breaks our heart too! I am pretty sure that somehow, the teachers get the blame... :-b

Anonymous said...

I don't know if it's a generational thing. Maybe. Maybe not. But I do know that I and just about every friend I have or would care to have, have all felt heartache and sorrow over Haiti, and have donated as such.

We were lucky enough to be born in America. We could have just as easily been born in Haiti or anywhere else in the world. Maybe young kids really just don't get that. Maybe they need a few miles in their legs and in their hearts before they can truly understand.

I think... I think the people who "get" it have always had it in their hearts to get it. And those who don't, might never will. And ain't no amount of good teaching or bad teaching maybe ever gonna change that. I'd like to think it would. But I just. don't. know.
-Kevin

Anonymous said...

I don't know if it's a generational thing. Maybe. Maybe not. But I do know that I and just about every friend I have or would care to have, have all felt heartache and sorrow over Haiti, and have donated as such.

We were lucky enough to be born in America. We could have just as easily been born in Haiti or anywhere else in the world. Maybe young kids really just don't get that. Maybe they need a few miles in their legs and in their hearts before they can truly understand.

I think... I think the people who "get" it have always had it in their hearts to get it. And those who don't, might never will. And ain't no amount of good teaching or bad teaching maybe ever gonna change that. I'd like to think it would. But I just. don't. know.
-Kevin

Teresa said...

That a few leave your classroom without learning compassion is sad, but focus on those who have learned compassion and did leave thinking beyond their own frame of reference.

I do think the US needs to be a bit more adamant that other countries step up to the plate to help (i.e. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and others). However, that does not preclude us from helping and many of our citizens have done just that, to the tune of multiple millions of dollars. I'm proud of what we as a nation did to step up and help, even if it wasn't a perfect coordination of efforts.

We cannot change the minds and hearts of those individuals who refuse to see due to immaturity. Unfortunately, that age group can have tunnel vision and only see what matters to them. Someday, they will grow up (or not) and see things differently and will be embarrassed at their narrow-minds and hard hearts. Perhaps someday they will travel to another land and gain some perspective. It took me going to communist countries to realize how good we have it here, even with our problems. My frame of reference changed drastically.

So take heart, my friend. It is good what you do. You are touching more hearts than you may ever know.

Cat said...

Everyone with whom we come into contact is on a different place in their journey. And I have to believe that you, Daisy, and I, and other parents, teachers and others can still plant a seed...of love, of compassion, of humanity. Even if we don't get to see the growth. A lifetime is a long time, maybe the lessons of compassion may yet be learned, in that student, and so many others.

Ryan said...

It is hard to believe someone could react that way to such devastation, although I do worry that the media's over-saturation of the "story" could cause some to become hardened to the suffering.
That being said, don't give up on the younger generation, as I write, friends of mine in their early 20's from YWAM San Diego/Baja who already have dedicated their lives to those in need in Mexico, are en route to help in Haiti.
For now, I give what I can, & pray.

TXB said...

I agree with Ryan about the media saturation being partly responsible. There may be some elements in our culture, in fact, which are helping to generate a certain amount of psychopathy (new word I learned from "House" last nite!). You overdo the coverage or sensationalize it and some are gonna call it "grief porn," and some of these chilluns may be smart enough to know that we only suddenly seem to give a shit about Haiti when, actually, if we'd done a little research, we'd have known that there's been a lot of suffering in that country for a long time. If they have any imagination, these same chilluns might surmise that many of us will write a check for Haiti relief but, when the media hype dies down, we'll go back to our routine of not thinking too much about suffering in other parts of the world--or even in the U.S. For example, no one's getting elected in America to help the poor... not even in a recession.

The Wiese Family said...

I am so sorry that you had to read that! Some people only care about what is in their narrow little world...and if it doesn't affect them...negatively or positively...well then it just doesn't matter. Sad for them, they will never experience the blessing that come with selfless giving that so many experience helping those in situation such as the one in Haiti. Whether it is giving money, times, talents, prayer or materials....they are all important. Human life is so precious...I wonder how a human being can be so unfeeling. I feel sad for THEM! They live in a very selfish world...you and I don't see that world...you never could Daisy...that is NOT you...that is why it hurts you! I love your compassion for others! We are a lot a like in that way.

Jamie said...

Hello, Miss Daisy. I just caught up on some of your blog posts. Thank you for sharing life, love, and opinion here. Your thoughts are so wonderfully honest and beautiful. I greatly appreciate reading them. Thanks for sharing a snippet of your life this time around. :)

Anonymous said...

Being equal, (no matter the hate you might have received)...I think you should have responded to the post. Part of this generation sickens me to no end. Apathy and indifference is what they show to anything happening unless it is happening to them. But, good news...a good part of this generation is also learning tolerance, love and generocity. You only have them for a year...the other influences have them for a life time. All you can do, is pour your heart into the year you do have them and pray something sticks!

Jared N Candi Stradling said...

Oh Daisy, you are such an amazing person inside and out. I think you should be willing to post something, but just be careful how you post it. Maybe just post another question for them to ponder...maybe in one of your status update like..."How would you feel if ... happened to you? Then continue on using your elegant use of words. Even with something like that said from them, don't doubt that you are making a difference in their lives. Sometimes they just get too caught up in themselves and they need loving people like you to bring them back to reality.

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