By Tim Wolcott of Teach Peace Now
She is respectful, kind and quiet. She often asks before class how I’m doing and/or lingers after class to say goodbye. She isn’t consistent in her quiz or lab grades, and her organization definitely needs improvement. However, I’ve thought more than once how well she must have been raised. Wow, how wrong could I be?
I requested a parent/teacher conference to offer suggestions to her mom on how to improve her daughter’s organization and academic performance. Those concerns soon became vastly secondary when the mother tearfully explained that her daughter’s father had been imprisoned for sexually abusing her for years. “It has been a year from Hell”, she remarked. Stunned, we offered our personal and professional support as well as began the referral process for guidance and social services’ counseling for the family.
This child is wounded, but resilient. This child is trying to heal, but needs help. Her love and caring still exist, but they are guarded.
So it is with our Mother Earth. She has been violated and exploited innumerable times, but she remains capable of caring too. She needs our support, physically and emotionally, as we need hers.
“Radical Joy for Hard Times” is an organization that does just that – offers care and love to wounded places all over Mother Earth while healing the people who participate. RJHT’s third annual “Earth Exchange” takes place worldwide on Saturday, June 23, 2012. Volunteers and organizers meet at damaged sites (landfills, clear-cut forests, bleached coral reefs) to create simple acts of beauty. When places are wounded, the people who love them hurt too.
The Earth Exchanges are part storytelling, part community action, part healing work, part artistic expression and part ceremony. They are called Earth Exchanges because in the process of enacting them, an exchange is made between people and place. People receive meaning and beauty from a place that they might previously have seen as spoiled or even worthless, and the place receives compassion and creativity from the people who care about it.
To be involved, sign up online at: radicaljoyforhardtimes.org
We offer books, activities, lesson plans, and ideas that teachers, parents, and students can use to promote values, attitudes and behaviors which encourage non-violent resolution of conflict, respect for human rights, democracy, intercultural understanding and tolerance.