Social Awareness

  Herein are the ramblings of someone who has never truly grasped social interaction. Many are the theories, many more are the stories of what has resulted. But suffice it to say I must study the bare basics of social interaction as if my financial aid depended on it in order to maintain basic acceptability. As a result, realizations such as the following are quite cause for personal celebration, much like understanding advanced mathematical concepts for the first time(s).

  I stopped off @ my local library after work to check my emails. BTW, thanks 2 Turtle n co for making such a wonderful place. But I digress. As I waited for my computer reservation I browsed the magazines and took a similar approach to eavsdropping. No, I don’t admit it I state it outright. And restaurants are heavan for that very purpose.

  One conversation was amazing. Not that the teen in question had an unplanned kid on the way and a court date for a DUI with no license or insurance. But that his family and community didn’t rally around him in defense, nor in criticism. They came to give him his ancestral perspective and not offer advice, but to discuss contemporary reality and ancient wisdom. As I listened I ended up becoming engrossed and missing my reservation. I grabbed a few magazines, sat nearby and pretended to read. Here are some excerpts from what the family elder had to say:

  “When you chose a path you loose your life. What that means is that you had a life, taking care of just yourself, partying, having fun, doing what you pleased. Now you have a partner and a child. In our family traditions, when your sisters have children they will be your children as well. You now provide for them with yourself.”

  (apparently the young man was considering joining the military as a way out of heavy fines and other sentencing in court) “The warrior way is very dangerous. You are seventeen and will be eighteen when your child is born. So you would be thirty-eight when she graduates high school. If you choose that life you might not live that long. That means that you won’t be able to provide for her or her mother. You are very spiritual and our family is very spiritual and has a long history as healers. You would do well to choose this instead.”

  I don’t presently remember anything else that was said. But the first quote especially struck a note with me. Regardless of what I join myself with I must become integrated, mixed in and an integral part of the whole. And as a part of doing so I give up my autonomy to/in various extents and means.  This is true whether a community, a relationship, a career, an education, a goal or a pleasure. By combining with something truly and completely I gain unhindered access to it’s fullest potential, good and/or bad, and often neutral as well.

  What’s amazing to me is that this family, simple, financially poor and formally uneducated was very articulate not about tradition-because-it’s-what-we-do but rather the reasons that their way has survived so many generations and been a benefit. That they care enough to gather together and mutually support themselves and provide for one another, regardless of the need.

  Many times that is the need.


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