By Rev. Amari Magdalena
Like Aretha sang, it’s about time we sock it to the Earth; some respect that is! This post is in response to a friend’s Facebook post about litter along the highways in the Sonoran Desert off I-19. It strikes me that we cannot teach what we don’t possess nor can we pass it down the line of generations in a culture that fails to recognize its footprint and impact on Mother Earth.
I remember distinctly a class I had as perhaps a freshman in high school. Our science teacher instructed us that the main grade earned would be dependent on being able to identify and write about a “litterbug.” Now as you can imagine, that word was not in the common vernacular in those times. It was quite the experience. And, not a joke like identifying, BANA2. That was in the middle fifties. We’ve come along sad way since then as evidenced by the litter strewn about our byways and highways.
Longshoreman philosopher, Erik Hoffer, was quoted as saying that observance of maintenance in a country is very telling about the success of the country. Anyone who has been on Earth for a few decades since the fifties can attest to the fact that our maintenance has devolved along with the growth in unfair economic distribution. Losing a sense of security and middle-ness can lead to loss of respect. Never having had it due to untoward economics leads to violence and deep resentment. When one loses his/her self-respect; concern about externals diminish exponentially.
An administration that espouses hatred for environmental concerns because they encroach on personal freedoms and amassment of wealth, while falsely pandering to the disenfranchised, is summoning a deadly debt that their inheritors will pay for. That is, if the Earth survives the damages.
Mother Earth has been giving very loud and frightening signals that ignorance of earth’s principals and eco-system will bring the furry down of feminine scorning. We’ve seen more natural disasters in this year 2017 collectively than I can remember: horrendous hurricanes; precipitous floods; devastating earthquakes; hell’s furry of fire. And her message, STOP, cannot be long ignored if we are to survive.
So where does this self-respect begin that allows us to be more respecting of all that surround us? In the womb, in the bassinet, in the pre-schools, in the home, in the elementary schools, in the pulpits, in the higher institutions of education; those are the places of acculturation. From the first splash in the waters of birth and onward, we are given an indication by those surrounding us as to our favorability or lack thereof. “Oh, what a darling baby,” coos one Mother. “Whoa what a set of lungs,” cries another, in disbelief of the wailing one who emerged after nine months and hours of labor. Looks and sounds create early impressions as to our perceived worth.
Caregivers surrounding us after birth from parents, to grandparents, to siblings, to nannies, to teachers and preachers are every moment giving us their opinion of us. Though we many not understand the language, we are hip to the intonation. It has a long-lasting impact.* Self-respect and esteem are happily fostered for growth or ignored, much like a garden. Blame gets foisted on the backs of the parents, especially the mother, who was ill prepared to assume the day-to-day responsibilities of raising and effective human being.
Did you take parenting classes? Did your parents? Unless you chose Early Childhood Education in college, did you take any courses? Most answers are no; we parent the way we were parented. Sometimes a few get some help and break the cycle; mostly not. Thus, parents who lack self-respect and esteem, pass it on from one generation to another. My point being is that lack of self-respect and respect for others has become a national disease. So, let’s give it an acronym and maybe it’ll get some funding. LOSR Syndrome (Lack of Self-Respect).
Ah, now we can form a foundation and solicit grants to address this growing disease. We can secure funds to study the problem and get it classified as a mental disorder. Maybe we can design a 12-Step Recovery Program. Perhaps books will be written about it. A minor in college will be developed. The possibilities are endless.
Or just maybe, we can look at all the big and little ways that we personally desecrate or contribute to the destruction of the planet. While we are looking at the results, perhaps we’ll also go within and look at the causes of our own malady (LOSR Syndrome). With that look, we could start to change our perception of the being in the mirror and give ourselves a break. As we rescript our opinion of ourselves we can hope that we’ll extend that better opining to our precious planet, our circle of influence and those that come after us.
We're nearing the point of the stripped branch with one small glimmer of budding growth. Let's preserve it with R.E.S.P.E.C.T; of ourselves, of others, of the planet.
"If we lose love and self-respect for each other, this is how we finally die." Maya Angelou
"Our death is not an end if we can live on in our children and the younger generation. For they are us: our bodies are only wilted leaves on the tree of life." Albert Einstein
*The early impact of our caregivers is addressed in the chapter on the 7 Veils of Illusion in my book, Unbecoming Me: The Ultimate Shapeshifters Journey.