No matter where you are around the world, December is a time for celebration. In this post, I’ve included a video which highlights 12 of the celebrations around the world during the months of December and January.
SO, Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Yule, Dongzhi, or one of the many other holiday celebrations around the world, I would like to wish all of you a
VERY HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON.
I know I said I’d be back on December 7, 2020. However, I’ve decided that this will be my last post until the new year. I had Cataract surgery on one eye on December 2 and the other eye is scheduled for December 16. As I sat down to do my posts today, for the next few weeks, I realized just how straining computer work is on the eyes. In reality, I’m trying to do my computer work with one good eye, which is now at 20/25 and the other eye is 20/800. Needless to say, my eyes are really tired and I’m getting a headache. If I’m going to do this right, now is the time to rest my eyes.
Before I get to the inspiration for this post, (the concept of S.A.L.T.) I wanted to share this little essay, which was originally written to my youngest son as he graduated from high school last year. It was a “little speech” I gave just before I presented his “graduation video”, a photographic representation of his life. This essay is a collection of things I wanted him to remember, the take away from his years living with me, learning from me. I have edited it slightly by removing some very personal sections in order to make it a bit more generic. Below is a photo of my son on his graduation day, approximately one year ago.
For what it’s worth,
here is my “two cents worth”:
“As you move away from home, our job raising you draws to a close. We’ll still provide insight and guidance, but it will be less and less. In a sense, an entire chapter of our lives together is ending. You are now moving into adulthood, headed into the world to see what it has to offer you. We need to trust that we’ve raised you properly, to make good decisions and live a good life. So, this, for what it’s worth, is my sage advice, as you begin the next chapter in your life.
There are many things my parents taught me as I grew up, such as…
always be on time
always try your best
finish what you start
But, there are 3 principles I use to guide my life. I’ve tried to teach these principles to you over the years and lead by example. They work hand in hand, the first guiding the second and the second guiding the third .
1)Treat others how you wish to be treated –
I’ve used this phrase often as you grew up. I often felt it was a fruitless cause, but hoped it would one day sink in. This principle, also known as “the golden rule”, is so important, it is the guiding philosophy to all religions and spiritual beliefs.
CHRISTIANITY – So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
BUDDHISM – Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.
JUDAISM – What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellowman. This is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary.
ISLAM – No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.
HINDUISM – This is the sum of duty: do naught onto others what you would not have them do unto you.
2)Don’t judge others actions – This principle, can be illustrated by this short story:
A young couple moved into a new neighborhood.
The next morning while they were eating breakfast,
the young woman saw her neighbor hanging the washing outside.
“That laundry is not very clean; she doesn’t know how to wash correctly.
Perhaps she needs better laundry soap.”
Her husband looked on, remaining silent.
Every time her neighbor hung her washing out to dry,
the young woman made the same comments.
A month later, the woman was surprised
to see a nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband,
“Look, she’s finally learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this?”
The husband replied, “I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.”
And so it is with life…
What we see when watching others depends
on the clarity of the window through which we look.
Remember, life is only how you perceive it through your own eyes, your own experiences. The lives of others are like an iceberg, you only see the tip, but there is a vast amount hidden beneath the surface. You have no idea what someone else has been through or their life experiences. You don’t know what has led them to the choices they made. You may think your beliefs and way of life are the only way, but, others think that of their life as well. There are 7.7 billion people on this planet and 7.7 billion views on life, love and God. Which leads me to the final principle.
3)Keep an open mind. –
The most important thing I can say here is: there is no 1 right way, there is only what’s right for you. “To each his own.” another phrase I’ve used quite often over the years. It simply means everyone has a right to their own preferences and choices. Allow that and keep an open mind to those decisions others make. You lead your life, treat others with kindness and respect, and don’t judge the lives of others. Then, you let other people do the same thing.
At the same time, keep your mind open to new possibilities and different perspectives. Life is a classroom. Embrace that. When you come across something you don’t understand, don’t mock, judge or gossip instead, study it, learn about it, and ask questions. Remember, the only stupid question is the one you fail to ask. Never stop learning, growing and changing. We are all just plugging along in this life, doing the best we can with what God gave us. NO ONE is better than anyone else, just different. Discover those differences and embrace them.
Through the process of putting together the video, writing this essay and my son graduating, I realized what a blessed and magnificent life I’ve had with these three wonderful men, my husband and 2 sons. I am so grateful for the beautiful life we’ve had together. We’ve seen and done so many amazing things. Traveling the world, living in so many different places, experiencing new cultures and ways of life has been such an adventure. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Many people have asked me over the years how we can move so much, isn’t it hard? For me, I ask…how can you stay in one place your whole life and NOT travel the world? Remember, it’s all in how you view life.
For so many people, home is a place, a building, with four walls and a roof. As the old saying goes, “home is where the heart is.” My home is, and always will be, with the three men in my life. Whenever we are together, no matter where we are on the globe, I am home.
I am so tired and stressed by the state of our world, that I struggled to find a theme for today’s post. For me, what’s missing is living by the guidance of THE GOLDEN RULE. The main theme for my life and the 3 principles listed above is THEGOLDEN RULE…treat others how you wish to be treated. That’s when I decided to post the essay above.
To add to this essay, I also found a wonderful video which discussed a 4 pronged approach to implement this most important rule. This system goes by the acronym S.A.L.T.
Serve– Use your gifts and talents to help others
Appreciate – Recognize the accomplishments and effort of others and be grateful always.
Love – Love everyone unconditionally, without expectation or exception.
Treasure – Spread kindness. Show dignity and respect to others.
Below is the video that discusses the concept of S.A.L.T. in relation to THE GOLDEN RULE. While this is a video based on the bible and Christianity, there are no limits to this concept.
One thing missing from my essay, had I written it today, is is the defense of others. This is something else I’d like my children to know and understand. It’s important to live by the golden rule. However, it’s also important to understand that not everyone in this world live’s by this concept. Therefore, I’d add a 4th life principle.
4) Defend those less fortunate.
I don’t think anyone would argue that we all desire peace on our planet. Right now, that can’t happen. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and be treated according to the golden rule. After watching many videos and learning from the life experiences of others over the past month, it’s clear there are members of our society that aren’t treated with the respect they so richly deserve. I’d tell my children, if they witness any such disrespect, to step in and help the person being mistreated. We must be a light, a beacon to those still in darkness. We must lift each other up, not push each other down. Only then, will we live together in peace as a planet.
We have all watched the news stories and seen videos and photos of the wild fires that are devastating Australia right now. We sit back and feel helpless as homes burn, peoples lives are lost or endangered and most of all, millions of innocent animals lives are lost.
Here are some statistics:
480 million animals have died as a result of the fires
30% of New South Wales koalas killed
28 people are missing in Victoria
Over $50 million a day lost.
11.3 million acres destroyed, an area larger than the Netherlands.
2,500 buildings destroyed
Air pollution in Sydney makes breathing equivalent to smoking 37 cigarettes.
How you can help
Unless we’re firefighters, it’s likely we can’t go down and help directly. However, there are ways to help from a distance. Almost all organizations are asking for financial donations, instead of goods, or physical items. This is because of the difficulty and time needed to organize and disperse physical goods. Monetary donations are much easier, because they can be given directly to those in need who decide for themselves what is needed. Here’s some places to keep in mind if you’re thinking of donating.
Donate directly to fire departments in Victoria and New South Wales: www.cfa.vic.gov.au These are the states hardest hit by the fires.
Victorian Government: They have established a partnership with Bendigo Bank and The Salvation Army, which assists affected families and communities. Visit this site for more details vic.gov.au/bushfireappeal.
Australian Red Cross 18,600 people affected by the fires, have been helped by the Australian Red Cross. For more information and how you can help visit their website at redcross.org.au.
Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal: This is an Australian non-profit that raises funds and issues grants to rural and regional communities for disaster relief projects. Visit this site for more information: frrr.org.au
Salvation Army Australia: Financial donations are being requested, instead of physical goods. Donate HERE.
St. Vincent de Paul: This Catholic organization currently has more than 60,000 members and volunteers in Australia, helping those in need. How is donated money dispersed? $50 (about $35 American dollars) can provide food for a displaced family; $150 can help stave off bills; and $300 can help clothe a fleeing family that had to leave behind their belongings. Follow this link to donate to the bush fire appeal
WIRES: This organization, based in New South Wales, is the Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service Inc., and are Australia’s largest wildlife rescue organization. Donations to this organization will go to help wildlife affected by the fires. . Learn more at wires.org.au.
Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital: This hospital is owned and run by the family of famed wildlife conservationist and “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin. They are taking in many animals affected by the fires. Donate at azwh.blackbaud-sites.com.
RSPCA Australia: The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Australia, is the nation’s leading animal welfare charity. Donations will help fund the rescue and treatment of animals affected by the fires. For more information, visit their website HERE.
World Wildlife Fund Australia: Donations to the Australian chapter of the international wildlife conservation organization will help care for injured wildlife. Also, the organization plans to plant 10,000 native trees in critical koala habitat, once the fires have cleared. Donate at donate.wwf.org.au.
Remember, part of social wellness is remembering that what affects one part of society affects all of us. We are all on this planet and in this life together. Helping other people in need, helps all of us.