The day after tomorrow the U.S.A. celebrates its independence . We still have a lot of work ahead of us to realize our nation’s potential. Acknowledging that, let us come together and celebrate the progress we have made.
We live into the stories we tell ourselves.
One of our shared stories is that “We are the land of the free and the brave.”
Another is Emma Lazurus’ sonnet, The New Colossus, inscribed on the plaque attached to the base of our Statue of Liberty.
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Remember: You Matter. Your Stories Matter. Tell Them Well!
The Storytellers Channel
The Baby in the Bathwater
Most North Americans take clean water for granted. This is not always been the case. Flint, MI being a contemporary example.
It was not uncommon for people to only bathe once a week. And considering most cultures were and are patriarchal, after the tub had been filled the men bathed first, followed by the women and then the children. You can imagine how filthy and opaque the water would have been by the time the baby was washed. This led to the admonition,
“Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.”
I don’t know if this was literal or simply an admonition to remember the big picture.
I belong to Toastmasters. English is not the primary language for the majority of my club’s members.
This is a major attraction for me. Every meeting is a United Nations with folks from Asia, Africa, Europe and South America. A feature of most Toastmasters’ meetings is an opportunity to speak extemporaneously. In light of the proximity of July 4th, one of today’s topics was:
“How has Independence Day in some other country impacted you?”
One of our members, Tatiana, was born in Russia. She accepted the invitation to speak and began by telling us that while Russia does not have an “Independence” day, they do commemorate The Revolution. For her November 7th was Independence Day for her family.
She was born and raised on a farm. Her grandfather was a shepherd, as had been his father and his father before him. Prior to 1917 he had been a serf “chained” to the land. Had the Tzar not been overthrown; Tatiana, too, would have been chained to the land.
Instead, she was given an education as an engineer, immediately upon graduation she was given a job and an apartment. Tatiana and her husband emigrated to the U.S. after the fall of the Berlin Wall. He’s a university professor and she’s a corporate executive.
The Russian Revolution freed millions of people. Unfortunately, their leaders chose to throw the baby out with the bathwater and killed or forced their educated to flee.
I commented, “It’s an ill wind that blows no good.”
Tatiana was unfamiliar with the expression, but it gives me solace.
The U.S. is in a period of great turmoil. I’m encouraging people not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Tatiana’s story reminds us, even an ill wind may bring some good.
Remembering we live into the stories we tell ourselves; look for our successes and let’s build on them, together.
Wishing Y’all a Happy Independence Day.
I Want to Hear from You
Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what stories or storytelling topics you’d like me to explore.
Til next time,