Consider the words

September 2nd, 2014
We must take care

We must take care

My son Brian went to Children’s Circle Center in Tiburon for daycare as a toddler when I went to work, and the teachers loved to sing. I remember many songs they sang to him as a little guy, because he sang the songs to me many, many times. Clearly those songs made an impact.

“The earth is our mother

We must take care of her

The earth is our mother

We must take care of her”

Brian’s four years old and singing about taking care of the planet.  Those tuneful values presented by teachers really mattered, like how important it is to share and be authentic.  Simple as it sounds, teaching each child to care of our planet changes a generation. In recent conversation, my now adult son Brian and I  remembered another little tune those teachers taught him, focusing on abiding self-love and acceptance.  He still knows it by heart, and that adds great value to such a tune, how an upbeat philosophy lasts a lifetime, and can direct personal commitment to one’s truth.

I love myself, the way I am, there’s nothing I need to change

I’m beautiful and capable, of being the best me I can

And I love you the way you are there’s nothing you need to do

because I love myself just the way I am”

Considering my son was raised by a single mom as a toddler, afternoons with Grandma, and no dad around, Brian needed all the emotional support he could find.  I wish my teachers had taught me that song when I was small.  Its lyrics and catchy little tune remind us of our worth, especially as we go through tough times growing up.

Not too long ago, I heard another version of the same Earth tune my son had learned as a preschooler,

“The earth is our mother

She will take care of us

The earth is our mother

She will take care of us”

Wait a minute, that’s a changed lyric, with huge distinction of life’s focus that sounds passive to me.  I think lyrics are super important, like poetry.  When a child learns The earth is our mother, we must take care of her,’ we view all the conservation needed to take care.  Think of recycling, non-polluting activities that we are proactively doing to help the planet.  We take responsibility for the health of our planet, and a sense of community, so let’s make Earth a better place.  The old hippie adage, “Think globally, act locally,” rings true.

But the new version,

The earth is our mother

She will take care of us

The earth is our mother

She will take care of us

Please look at that change.  She’ll take care of us?  Where’s the responsibility and respect to care for Earth?  It says, don’t worry, we are fine doing whatever we want, and we don’t have to give back.  Is it really all about taking?

I don’t agree.

I don’t need to tell you about climate change.  President Jimmy Carter had solar panels on the White House roof in 1974 and President Ronald Regan took them off.  Why did he take them off?   We know why Jimmy put them up, and he’s still involved in building a better world with Habitat for Humanity.  He’s not waiting for the earth to take care of him.

I see the lyric shift with the child’s tune of Earth as a metaphor. Values have shifted in not-so-great directions between generations.  She will take care of us.  Really?  What are the consequences of not taking care of her???

I so badly want my future grandchildren to care for Earth, and see themselves as stewards of this glorious globe.  I don’t want others to be their janitors and take care of them, like I’ve heard Marin County students say,  “That’s why we pay janitors.”  Not right by me.

Whoever changed the song lyrics, please rethink those words that really stick.  The life values of such a simple tune evokes a whole universe in children’s hearts.

One response to “Consider the words”

  1. Sandy says:

    Once again you have written words that say exactly what I think and how I feel. Thank you.

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