Friday, February 7, 2014

Pull yourself up.

Today, I am going to speak to you all as a Rabbi, something that I do not do often, and even as I speak to you all in this capacity, I am not going to preach God to you.  If you want God, I suggest you speak to someone at your local church, check the dumpster behind Wal-Mart, or even go to prison.  Oddly enough many people seem to find God in prison, but that is a topic for some other entry.  But the fact is, God aside, this whole mentality of pull yourself up by the boot straps, or some other crap comments I hear.

As a Rabbi, I am more of a teacher than preacher.  I try to teach to people things that are painful to learn on their own.  I try to teach compassion, sympathy and empathy through my own actions.  I try to teach others the value of helping their fellow man, to trust others, to find a cause that you hold dear that does not hold others down.  I admit I am not always a good teacher, I am flawed, I am damaged, just like every other human on this planet.

Now some of you might be under the false impression that compassion, sympathy, and empathy are the same thing, and while they encompass similar feelings they are different in their meaning.

compassion 

: a feeling of wanting to help someone who is sick, hungry, in trouble, etc.

empathy

: the feeling that you understand and share another person's experiences and emotions : the ability to share someone else's feelings

sympathy

: the feeling that you care about and are sorry about someone else's trouble, grief, misfortune, etc. : a sympathetic feeling
: a feeling of support for something
: a state in which different people share the same interests, opinions, goals, etc.

 Now, I am sure what has brought this topic up today.  Well, I tend to watch my FaceBook, Twitter, and news feeds for ideas to write about here.  There are days that nothing really strikes my fancy, but there are also days when I could write fifty entries on this blog.  But something I saw today raised my blood pressure, and sent a fury through me.  

So as I was scrolling through my feed I see an article from the Raw Story, and yeah it burned my chaps, to pull a boot strap comment out of my backside.  Basically, the schools in Oklahoma City shut down out of a concern for students as the temperatures plummeted.  That's right, the schools shut down because it was too cold, and children walking to school could have suffered hypothermia, frost bite, or death.  So, I assume my position, and golf clap.  Then, I started reading comments people made about this effort to keep kids mostly safe, and intact.  This comes directly from the KOLH Page.
RL: This is part of the issue with our society today. We are raising a generation of kids that are taught to look for any reason at all to get out of doing what they are responsible for. We are teaching them it's ok. I promise you, these will be the same kids that when they get old enough to work, will be calling their boss and saying it's to cold out I can't come to work. We have a duty to teach our kids how to deal with adversity and still accomplish our required responsibilities. We are failing miserably.

STS: And this is why America is raising a bunch of babies that are self centered and can't do anything for themselves.

CYTR: Just saying I went to school between 87- 2002 and all I can say is that we sure was not babied like the kids today walking to school thur freezing rain, snow ice it never affected us. So why is it any different today they need to be in school I understand weather not able to drive in but really a lol low temp and they canceled school come on get real. Make your kids put on a thicker jacket. Just saying 

DB: This generation of kids will not go to work because it's too cold outside.

And so it continued on through over 150 comments, and replies to comments.  Lesley said it best in one of her responses, and it is something I would say;
"Be an example-- on the COLDEST of days, stand outside in the early morning hours with no coat, no hat, no gloves and sneakers. And don't drink coffee or cocoa (that would be wussing out)-- show them how frost bite can be over come! It's mind-over-matter. Shake it off! And besides, who needs all those fingers? You won't miss one or two if frost-bite takes them. Just "power through" the hypothermia!"  
So, basically we have moved on to telling parents that they should be responsible to ensure kids have winter clothing capable of protecting them from subzero weather.  Hell, even when I was working security I didn't keep arctic clothing in West Virginia, this is not the kind of weather you normally expect out of Oklahoma, +Larry Dillon you are close to OKC, is this normal weather?

But now we have gone from demonizing poor parents to demonizing poor kids.  They want to claim we are going to create a sense of entitlement, make them lazy, or otherwise set up another generation to be "welfare queens" just because the school district called off school out of a real concern about their safety.  I don't see that at all, what I see is a shift in policy that ensures children are not put in harms way.  Sure if you don't like your child standing outside waiting for the bus, you can always drive them, if your means allow for it.  But just because you have the means, does not mean you have the right to look down on others who do not.  Use a little empathy and sympathy if you have it, then use some compassion to change it.