September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Perfect time to write about All Those Kids. Then I realized that September was Pain Awareness Month. Awesome. Got the rest of my September posts covered. And then I realized from my Facebook feed that September was also Head Lice Awareness Month. What? Head Lice? (And there’s a thing called Super Lice??) Time to Google. Healthfinder.gov lists about 108 National Health Observance Months over the year. And those are just the Months. Not the Weeks or Days. Who. Knew? A complete list can be found here as a pdf:2015-Awareness Months or here in web link.
Wow. What’s a girl to do? I cannot remember 108 causes. I can’t remember to put my laundry in the dryer.
As I looked over the list, I noticed that some causes were noticeable absent. Say… Malaria. Not even a day for Malaria, which kills so many kids. No day for diarrheal diseases, which also kills so many kids. I mean sure, Diarrheal Diseases doesn’t sound sexy at all, but surely the branders and marketers of this world could come up with a name? Hepatitis and Tuberculosis got a Day each. Malnutrition got a Week. And there is a World Heart and a World Food Day. But no World Hunger. Huh.
At first I was mad. And I wanted to rewrite the list myself because I Know Better.
And then I was sad because as a Nation it seems like we are all so self-absorbed we forget about the world. You know, the World we are supposed to be saving? The World.
Finally, I realized I am not doing all that great a job at saving myself. Who am I to judge?
Because when you are de-lousing a kid living in a group home with waist length hair -for the third time -you both might be crying because the last thing either of you want is to cut her hair. At the same time you might be so skeeved out by the actual bugs you see crawling on you (getting itchy just typing)- you absolutely know there is nothing worse on the planet than the fresh hell you are experiencing with lice. Not that I would know. hahaha.
I guess our cause is our cause. It’s more important that we pick one than what we pick. Just choose. If life has not put one in your path… it will. or there are at least 108 to choose from in the list above. It can keep changing. Just pick.
It is important that we pick. We cannot live truly fulfilled, content, and meaningful lives without compassion and love. How can we be free if our brothers and sisters are not? How can we help our children lead meaningful and fulfilling lives if we don’t show them how to give back?
I don’t think it has to be hard. My church has a saying- “serving here, there, and everywhere.” Basically- caring for you family (including yourself), your community and your world. I like this. It keeps things in perspective.
Is it fair to save the World at the expense of our family? to tell our sweet first world kids that they can handle being bullied because the kids in Africa are starving?
Is it fair to save our communities at the expense of or families or ourselves? Read any stories about Pastor’s falling off their path– or PKs (preachers kids) that are Very Angry about their childhood?
Does it help our kids if we ignore our community and the world? Ever meet an entitled teenager?
Another thing– if we champion a Cause already -focusing on others helps us keep perspective. I’m going to go out on a limb here. I’ve been telling my clients, my kids, my loved ones that all life matters, that they matter because they breathe -for years. I think this tenet is the basis for some major world religions? So when I turned on the TV the other day and I saw two people tell an interviewer that the statement “all lives matter” was a “violent statement” against Black people, I was really shocked. Because I certainly have not been making intentional violent statements against Black people for 20 years. Sometimes I wish your cause and my cause could merrily exist. And we could see each others hearts and not play the semantics game. But I digress. or not.
If we champion a cause already, then focusing on the world, the community, and our family might keep us from becoming super entrenched in an exclusive worldview.
As an FYI, some might think my Cause would be childhood cancer or chronic pain. And it actually isn’t. Either. Those are parts of my story, my history. I guess if I had to pick a “thing” it would be childhood suffering on any level- children now and adults who suffered as kids. And wanting my friends and family to feel like I will show up emotionally when they need me and that there is nowhere I will not journey with them. Today that’s what I’m about. Wow that’s hard. to really state it. weird. cause I fail a lot.
- Find a way to care here, there and everywhere. Include yourself. Include yourself.
- Caring can be a prayer, a letter, a meal, educating yourself, saying hi, a smile. Start small.
- You can’t save the world. Actually you can’t save yourself either. You need love and others to get through this life.
- See your kids. They think differently than adults. Telling them that someone else has it worse than they do does not help them. They have the life experiences that they have- and their worst suffering is their worst suffering. That may be true for all of us.