Monday, January 19, 2009

A restoration of American values

One of the things you learn in wood shop is that work with the hands requires intelligence, too, and those who work with their hands are deserving of the same level of respect within society as those who work exclusively in their heads. Our economic structure doesn't reflect that, does it? If you are a CEO of a major American corporation, your salary will likely be 350 times the level of your average employee. And there is shame to be found in that... Selfishness and greed belonging to a past presidential administration in which those things were to be applauded and encouraged in lieu of service to our nation.

I am impressed with the words of Obama. He is an eloquent speaker, and I wish I could be there with my daughter tomorrow for the Inauguration and to hear his words in person. Instead, I'll very likely watch in my living room, surrounded by students from Clear Spring School. After all, leaders should be chosen for young people and those yet to be born, not to serve only those whose lives are already safely and firmly established. And I have been so pleased to see how Barack Obama pulled so many young people into the democratic process. It is gratifying to see young people as enthusiastic about the political process as I was in my early years.

We have been missing the long view. Our corporations look to the next quarter, our families look to the next paycheck or the next tank of gas. I have confidence that Barack Obama is one who thinks of his children and their children... not just how we will cope with the next few months, but how we will build a society that is more just and that represents the aspirations and capacities of all people.

One of the things I like best is his call that we each dedicate ourselves in greater service, not to self, but to others and society. Responding to "Our higher angels." He asks that we may be greater and more meaningful to each other than we had been led to believe possible. I wish I could speak as eloquently as he does about all this. But instead, I urge my readers throughout the world, to listen to his words, take them to heart. Somewhere in it all, I expect to hear the hands mentioned, that they not be left idle. They are an inseparable element of human life, service and culture. We will surely be better off when the hands receive their fair share of attention in our nation's schools. I am talking about art, music, gardening, cooking and wood shop and the caring for each other that arises when our hands have awakened our hearts to greater service.

Today, when I went to the wood shop to do prep work for tomorrow's classes, I found the building to be flooded by a burst pipe. Only the wood shop was spared from the deluge. So I have canceled classes for tomorrow while pipes are repaired and thousands of gallons of water are pulled from the carpet in the adjoining rooms.

No comments:

Post a Comment