Posts Tagged ‘Respect’

ProteaSome of us like summer, while other prefer winter.  Some love the the newly-sprouted in the early spring; others love the summer rains; others love the snowtop mountains; and other love the autumn-orange of fallen leaves.

But there is a purpose to the different seasons.  Veld fires caused by lightning during the summer rains create space for new life.  Decaying leaves from autumn replenish the soil with nutrients and act as compost. And with every passing season, we learn something new.  Never a dull moment in the school of life!

Friendships are very much the same.  You are more fond of some than others.  Some scorch you.  Some will leech onto you like a parasite.  Others pick you up and stand by you.  Some friends act as leaves and others act as the tree itself.  Many shapes and sizes; many reasons; many possibilities. All happens for a reason.  Some friendships will be with you every step of the way.  They will photosynthesize and be the air you breathe.  Some will cast a shade over you to protect you from the elements.  Some will whsisper inspiration into your ears as the wind rustles through their branches.  Some will cushion your steps as you slowly take careful steps into your future.
Even lost friendships that has past, will have left a lasting impression.  A parasite will have left scare-tissue, but it would’ve made you stronger. Fallen leaves would have had an input in your growth.  A standing tree will be there to support you when you wanted to lie down.  Some will blossom and you will admire the beauty and their charismatic aroma.

As seasons pass, you will have lost many; but gained as well.  Sometimes you would’ve lost the best.  And yes! Sometimes you will find an irreplacable treasure.  But I think it is important to realize that as much as these people are important in your life, you need to be a postive input in their life as well.

Let luscious grass grow underneath your treetop for when your friend needs to lay their head down and let the tree top spread wide over them to protect them from the harsh sun and heavy hail and winds; Be the tree they can lean on when they are tired;  Let your autumn leaves gentle cover the soil and replace nurtients and minerals.  Photosynthesize good quality fresh air for your friend to be able to breathe when panic surrounds them.

The saying goes: “good friends are hard to find” and “the best things in life a free”.  So realize the wealth you have in your friends. Love them for who they are and what they mean to you.

A glossy cover does not depict the quality of the content in a book.  Yet, if possible readers see the ripped and worn backbone of a book, they do not reach for it, but a glossy, well-designed cover attracts them like a moth to a flame.  A good read is normally the one showing wear and tear because not one but many people read the book, and maybe even read it a few times.

In our modern times, on a daily basis you hear how people are judged for their sexual orientation, their religion, their skin colour, gender, cultures, their abilities/disabilities.  These matters even get accentuated during the ‘voting seasons’.  For these reasons am I losing faith in mankind!

Even when there is no gain for anyone, these matters are still a major problem in society, but when someone can benefit themselves, then all of a sudden they use these ‘trump cards’ to justify their means and add fuel to the fire.

Religion is but one tool for someone to gain votes and popularity; for another it is a way of life and beliefs.  ISIS-extremists are not speaking for the whole Muslim community.  Muslim is one of the great religions – their followers are dedicated and passionate about their beliefs.  Me, being a Christian, does not make me any better or worse than them, and the same apply to Buddhists and Hinduists and the multiple other religions out there.  Even if you have studied the Quran and the Bible in full to the utmost extent, the ‘educated’ outcome will still be “just your opinion”.

How can you fault someone for not believing in the same thing you do?  Can you say for certain you are right and the other person wrong?  Why can’t people from different religions share a table and enjoy each other’s companionship?  It is not impossible you know!

Race… In the apartheid era in South Africa, blood was spilled, based on your skin colour. Unfortunately, even now in the 21st century, not much has changed across the world.  Some use the race-card to incite others to violence.  Others then retaliate.  At the end, it is just a spinning wheel repeating the same problems over and over again.  Seeing an African walking down the street with a boom box, doesn’t mean the person stole it. A ‘white’ person is not necessarily wealthy. A Muslim is not a terrorist!

A person with or without abilities or disabilities is no better or worse than the other.  Being an amputee, does not mean you are less human than an able-bodied person (and I say that with caution).  Looking down on a disabled person is a disability by itself: Not to see what those people have accomplished with the hardships they face.  The only disability a human being can have is the lack of the correct attitude.

There is a saying that justice is blind.  Unfortunately, people think the blind means ignorant where it is actually meaning justice is impartial and objective.  Have you ever wondered why Lady Justice (a statue of a woman with a scale and a sword) is blindfolded?  The blindfold simply represent objectivity.  Justice is impartial and should be handed down objectively.  This needs to be done without fear or favour, regardless of the identities involved, fame, wealth, power or money.

Yet, mankind is so easy to judge without delving deeper.  People love the power to judge others and look down on others.  We all have weaknesses, but at the end, doesn’t matter who you are, what your believes and preferences are, we are all the same.  If a person closes his/her eyes, what do you know about a person across the road behind a brick wall?  It is a soul that travels through life in a vessel that bleeds red-coloured blood.  In essence, we are all the same: Flawed, but perfect!

Mankind have a degree in ignorance! We should be compassionate, selfless, respectful, kind and honest, yet we don’t experience that as much as we experience judgement on a daily basis.  We judge a book by its glossy cover, and pretend we have studied the content extensively and have become a know-it-all.  Regrettably, that is a choice a person makes.

We breathe the same air; we walk the same earth; we gaze at the same moon.  We can decide to burn ourselves by judging one another, or we can respect one another and appreciate what we have in our lives.  Hopefully one day, the common man judge and juries of the world will realize that we are all the same.

Disabled By Our Own Abilities

Posted: January 1, 2016 in Current
Tags: , ,

We are quick to define someone as a disabled person just by certain characteristics.  Blind by eyesight; deaf by hearing; paraplegic by the loss of the use of limbs.  All conveniently categorized to make it easy to define someone’s ‘disability/impairment’.

Imagine you find yourself in pitch black darkness, not being able to see your own hand in front of your face.  Imagine a deafening silence while waking up early in the morning and walking on the beach.  Now, imagine spending a whole day without any of your senses or use of them.

Yet, “abled bodied” people are more concerned about how awkward it feels to stand next to a blind person while commuting or stare when a deaf couple use sign language to communicate.  What makes abled bodied people any more a human being than another?  A woman is not less of a human because she is female; superiority is not defined by race.  Where is the divide?

‘Abled bodied’ people’s disability is in their abilities! With 20:20 vision, we are blind to see the beauty in life – people and nature.  With perfect hearing, we hear but do not listen to a single word!  We are so obsessed with the abnormalities of others, that we forget to live!  To make it worse, here are some thoughts to ponder on:

  • There are no effective policies to provide a quality education to children with a disability (source: http://www.globalpartnership.org).
  • It is estimated that 90% of children with disabilities in the developing world do not go to school.(source: http://www.globalpartnership.org) Only a fraction of this percentage will successfully find a job.
  • To purchase textbooks to further studies or your career, standard print is readily available. Braille is only available on request with very limited suppliers.  Braille print, or the converters are extremely expensive.
  • One can find a standard vehicle easily for acceptable prices, yet to apply modifications to such a car to cater for a disabled is almost impossible to afford.
  • In South Africa, sign language is one of the top 10 ‘languages’ used, yet it is not part of the 11 official languages.

It is clear that most businesses do not even consider catering for a small group of people, because there will not be an adequate profit margin.  The question I pose to these business owners and governments:  How can someone afford the necessary tools to make a living and add value in the commercial world of the a country, if there are no support since the school career right through to their adulthood?  I am not saying I have the solution to it all, but surely awareness to such a matter needs to be raised!

I have learnt such a great deal from the so-called disabled or ‘impaired bodies’.  Use what is given to you and appreciated every experience and moment, as you will never have a second chance to experience that specific moment.  People that have been thrown to the wolves, yet, they never complain, and they live each day for the blessing it is!  People that listen to your energy and your body language; blind people seeing more than many of us; paraplegics doing the extra mile… Because they can and they are willing and able!  You get no judgement and more respect from a single disabled person, than a full train of ‘abled commuters’.

Dedicated to a fallen angel, Trudie Arndt, with a heart as big as life itself.  A person we all came to love and respect. A person we all could learn a lot from.  A new year has come and past, but your lasting impressions will always be embedded in our hearts.

Looking at the term ‘chivalry’, there is clearly a few centuries of history behind it. You are more than welcome to read up on it, but my focus is what it developed to become and if there is still space for it in our modern society where men and women stand together as equals.

Asking teens what chivalry is, the chances are that they won’t have an idea.  Asking the generation before them, will tell you that it is opening doors and ‘stuff like that’.  A few generations before them, it would not have been a question, but it would’ve been the norm.

Now, opening car doors is not the only ‘act of chivalry’.  Here are the most obvious old-school gentleman-like gestures:

  • Pull up a chair for a lady
  • Offer your seat for a woman in a congested bus or train
  • Walking on the outside of a sidewalk
  • Proper and respectful salutations
  • Should you wear a hat, remove it when greeting someone
  • Buying flowers, not because you want forgiveness, but just because you wanted to
  • Even punctuality can be added to this list

The list continues and can even be very unique to your own circumstances, but at the end it all has something in common: mutual respect and common courtesy.  As you notice with the list above, most of these things mentioned won’t cost you anything.

Where are we going wrong then?  In short: Men don’t want to be trampled on because they act as a gentleman, and women don’t want to worry about any ‘strings attached’.

Chivalry should not be confused with the oppression of a woman, nor should it be exploited.  To the men out there I wish to ask you to try this, BUT with no strings attached.  You should not be asked to do something and you should not do it for something in return.  And to the ladies out there, do not see this as someone seeing you less independent, less equal or as someone trying to oppress you.

Chivalry has evolved into a philosophy and civilized behaviour as a way of life.  And even in our modernized times, we always find the time to philosophize about something.  And on World Rhino Day, I have realized that the good things of life perish because of our own doing!  We can not blame anyone but ourselves but I do believe that we can find the time to make space for gestures like these, so make it count.

World Rhino Day 2015