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Friday, June 25, 2010

Hope In the Younger Generation

My friend Daryl's daughter recently came back from a working trip to Tanzania, Africa. Chelsy is a college student and I've never met her, but I know her Dad, and he's amazing, so it wasn't a surprise to see what she's made:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3wVwGU4JBI

I cried from the second minute in.

Then she posted a story on our local website:
http://www.ibrattleboro.com/article.php/20100624204132909

It's from that post that I take this list-
1. Be thankful for the small luxuries in life, like clean tap water, cement trucks, and the ability to choose (even if it's as simple as having an entire menu in your hands).

2. "If you give me rice, I will eat today. If you teach me how to grow rice, I will eat everyday." -Mahatma Ghandi. Helping others doesn't mean dropping off money and shaking hands. It means going the whole nine yards, picking up the hammer yourself, getting your hands a little dirty, breaking a sweat, planting a seed, watching it grow, teaching what you know, learning what others know, and building relationships.

3. America may not be paved with gold and over-flowing with cash, but we have extraordinary hospitals, doctors, nurses, police, scholarships, grocery stores, health care and free education. In the eyes of poverty, that's gold. Cherish all of it. Everyday.

4. A neighbor is more than just a person living next door. Personal relationships go a long way. Say "hi", smile back, be genuine, and know that when everything falls apart, you'll always have your neighbors.

5. "People are people. They are not mountains; they move around. This is how I know I will see you again." -My amazing friend Godfry from Tanzania. Never say goodbye.

6. It's amazing how well two people can communicate without even speaking the same language. Be open, aware, and observant. Your heart will grow ten times bigger.

7. Try to speak another language. It may not come out perfectly but it will be perfectly appreciated.

8. Respect your elders. Always.

9. Hug, holds hands, and make eye contact. The simplest forms of affection go a long way to somebody who didn't get it from their parents.

10. Be kind and never make assumptions--everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

11. So your internet is too slow and your cell reception stinks? Go outside, take a good look around. There is so. much. more.

12. Listen to children, they know more than we think.

13. Education is the root to every solution. Absorb it, spread it, value it. Some people would die to have the education that we get for free.

14. Okay, so our government is a bit corrupt. And there's a constant tiff between the Dems and Repubs. But try to see the positive, because the corruption here is heaven compared to the corruption elsewhere.

15. Always have something beautiful in sight, even if it's just a flower in a mason jar.

16. Be patient. Clock time as we know it is completely artificial, don't become a slave of it. Relaxing and going with the flow will make you a happier person. I promise.

This young woman has changed my expectations of our youth. In my day to day life I see kids who are apathetic and ignorant, who don't want to face the world as it is (and who can blame them?). Then along comes Chelsy, with her truly beautiful video, crafted with so much love. She writes a simple straightforward accompanying post that shows more wisdom than most "adults" I know could muster. And I'm kinda awestruck. I could never have done this at her age. Not just because of the way the world was then, nor because of the fact that such things weren't possible then. But because I wasn't raised to hope for such things. Chelsy is a young woman with a lot of hope and love. I guess we can thank Daryl and Bridget for that, but it had to be in her to begin with. A seed will grow with care, and not in a vacuum,; but the seed needs to be there in the first place. I expect to hear great things about Chelsy for a long time to come.

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