Thursday, October 30, 2014

Therapy for our Nation or Turn Away from Evil...and have fun besides!

My daughter's pumpkin art this year...from evil to fun!*
As I sew, I often sit in front of the TV and turn on either CNN or Fox News and simply leave it on that channel for hours at a time.  I only half listen to it as I sew. I have however had to turn away from doing this recently with all the scary news: serial killer confessing all with subsequent findings of women's bodies; the lack of containment of ebola; ISIS and their recruitment of terrorists from western countries; Ottowa, Canada on lock-down for all day to assure that there were no other terrorists on the loose; Ferguson and more racial unrest....Nothing seems to be positive.

For a change of programming I turned on Jon Stewart.  I needed to laugh, if even at my own political party.  Why not, I thought, this sorry world is in need of laughter and Jon didn't let me down.  He addressed what the politicians are all screaming about, "keeping America safe no matter what" and brought up the litany of things that we have to fear, and putting them all together I found myself giggling. ISIS terrorists with ebola on their backs making their way through our too porous borders, and then clips from news programs of politicians in arms about protecting America, unless it costs money, or time or effort or involves changing their carefully guarded ideology...always blaming the other party.

There is much to fear in today's world though I believe that focusing on the positive would take a giant step to abolishing the need for youth to run to ISIS for a need to belong. My daughter shared a program with me that does just that, though at first I couldn't imagine any theme less likely to spark my interest.  It is called Kim of Queens.  It features Kim, who is a beauty pageant coach, and features her working with young girls.  Mind you I have seen Toddlers and Tiaras and think putting kids into beauty pageants should be considered a form of child abuse. 

Kim's program is quite different.  She finds kids that are anything but beauty pageant sorts and teaches them to be comfortable with who and what they are, no matter how different and non mainstream they might be.  Her instruction is about building her girls into being complete and confident young women with emphasis on inner character and overcoming their fears and demons. She even emphasizes that their personal problems and imperfections may be their greatest asset for it is their connection to real people everywhere as well as community action. There is no harsh criticism for their less than perfect performances, but rather much praise when they simply do their best!

Another program I discovered that was also refreshing was the new program Somebody Has to Do It. This is a new version of the previous program, Dirty Jobs. This week a marching band was featured, and I am sorry that I didn't take notes as to its name.  It took black kids from an area known for high delinquency and gave them not only an activity that took them off the street, but gave them structure, fun and challenge and lifetime pride in themselves.  Their marching is no ordinary marching, but rather complex precision work. They have been invited to several presidential inaugurations and have traveled in Europe as well.  Their training is no less than a ballet dancer's would be with many different positions and steps that are then put together and done amazingly fast and in time with their marching drummers and majorettes! And once a member always a member!  Again, what a neat way for kids to build confidence and pride in themselves and their community!

"Small things done with great love" was Mother Teresa's motto and the above sorts of activities are just that....therapy for our nation to bind up its wounds and rebuild the nation that we love.

I fell asleep dreaming of such things and then awoke with an even better idea...picture ISIS marching like this marching band.  They might get into it so much that they would forget about their knives and beheadings and taking over the world, and decide to compete with other marching troops, and take pride in their precision moves and marching to a rhythm all their own, and then allowing their women to be coached by Kim to become as beautiful as they can be inside and out, and overcome their fears and demons, and compete in international competitions bringing pride to themselves and their country...I know it is only a fantasy, but what a wonderful world it would be...Nations full of people taking pride in themselves and their communities all working together to make the world a better place...It is a wonderful dream!

Somebody has to do it and why not us in our own ways, with our own talents right in our own communities right now...and about curing ebola?  Likely it will be done the same way, saving one life at a time and caring enough to not take any chances of spreading it to another.  That too is a dream, but I do think that we can make it happen if we try!

(*Thank you Sarah Kate for your lovely pumpkin art--another example of taking pride in small achievements...and The Joker, no less...Perfect for this blog about transforming the world...from evil to fun and pride in doing small things with great love!)