A few days ago in blogland I happened on the comments page of a thoughtfully written blog which I cannot recall the name of now or how I arrived there at all! The post that inspired 20 or more comments triggered the audience's thoughts on global warming and planetary changes. People commenting seemed to be in the over 40s bracket - people with children, even grandchildren, life experience and so on. No-one seemed to be contradicting the idea of global warming...it was almost an agreed upon fact in these comments that there is no point concerning oneself with issues around global warming as we have destroyed the planet, there's no hope, its a fact its all going down the proverbial, once upon a time there were no humans walking the earth etc... thats where we are going and we just have to deal with it. It seemed one lonely voice came along towards the end of the comments and said "YES...ok that's all true perhaps....but we have to do something!" I should have written to that person.
Instead I just felt restless and discontent and kept thinking about it.
It reminded me of the period 2001- 2007 when I returned to teaching in secondary schools - surrounded in part by excellent people with huge commitment to their work and their students. However, some of those whose vocation was seen as more of an endless wait for retirement and superannuation, made comments as to the ridiculous notion of global warming or shrugged it off with an "oh well...it wont affect us....we wont be here - we'll be long gone!"
Numbness and burn out is a fact of life- its not hard to understand how it happens, but its not a creative space to be operating from - especially when your audience is the future waiting to be initiated into a sense of what's possible for them.
It did, and still does bother me, to hear people of similar vintage to myself be that ho hum or tired about global concerns when they actually perceive it to be a real event we are facing.
WHY? Because the 12 to 18 years olds I was conversing with daily were not ho hum at all. They were, too many of them, dealing with the effects of parental absence - actual physical absence to emotional or spiritual absence, substance dependance and many such raw edges to life. Lectures on the future on top of curriculum topics weren't what they needed ...instead - asking them what they saw, what they perceived, what mattered to them. They were thinking, they were keen to talk and to be asked. Story-telling was welcomed over lectures - but - getting them to ask questions, be curious, find out what they could do, encouragement to move towards what mattered to them in their lives and to not lose heart -there was endless desire from kids for this kind of nurturing. Nurture - not pats on the head - or empty praise!
If we are burnt out the least we can do is NOT burn out those around us who have ideas and energy, especially those younger voices. Maybe we need to get a whole lot better at being encouragers as opposed to doers. We dont need to be everywhere doing everything! That's not feasible or desirable. But genuine words of support to someone who is doing something is actually sometimes the greatest gesture and most effective doing we can do.
well...now I will be accused of lecturing. I'll get off the soap-box and pass this on after finding it at Kim Carney's wonderful little something blog today. The GOOD 100 list is put together to celebrate and inform about projects and ideas that are making our world better. Read here to get the background story.
on the list of 100 is Bundanoon's bottled -water boycott. This small australian town of Bundy (in aussie-speak) prohibited sales of bottled water this summer. Read more here about how and why this happened. Also visit www.bundanoon.com.au to read about the town.
Ok...so that was the Australian example on the list of 100. There are 99 more to investigate. Then there are the myraid ideas out there that we stumble across, take part in or have friends and family putting energy into. Artists might like to check out this one from Chattanooga in Tennessee called CreateHere. With the aim of connecting inspired, entrepreneurial doers with a rich network of existing resources and to try and unlock the endless potentials of Chattanooga's people CreateHere this year raised $450,000 which funded 57 grants to local artists. THAT sounds like a brilliant scheme. Artists often identify what's needed in communities - so to enlist them in giving life to their ideas through grants is inspired and no doubt hugely enriching - with a broad flow on effect.