Monday, March 14, 2011

Ganbatte Kudasai - Be strong!

I had a post scheduled for this week that my heart wasn't into. It seemed wrong to post something so light and funny when it seems like the world around us has faced so many disasters - so many changes.

There continues to be so much turmoil and unrest in the world. And Nature has reminded us that there is no prejudice in disaster. Earthquakes and tsunamis don't notice political boundaries or class distinctions. We don't own this earth, we only live here and we aren't doing a great job taking care of our home. Maybe it's time to snap out of our complacency and recognize our responsibility to take care of the world. Whether it's environmental or social issues, we all have some obligation to do our part.

The Japanese earthquake and tsunami was a wake up call for me. I've been a half-hearted conservationist and I'm ashamed to admit that I do not contribute back enough to our society. I have been selfish. Watching the devastation of a modernized country like Japan reminded me of how very little control we have in the grander scheme of life. The Japanese have a saying. "Ganbatte Kudasai!" It means be strong. Even during the worst of the natural disasters they have had to endure, it was a phrase that strangers would constantly say to one another. Passing one another on the street, or as one passenger left the train or bus. "Ganbatte Kudasai!" They are survivors They are truly strong and they have my deepest admiration and respect.
I want to be strong also. I've donated to the Red Cross immediately and plan to do donate to other organizations as soon as it becomes clearer what other relief will be needed. But there's not a lot else I can do. Except this. I promise that I will try to raise my children to respect the earth and our people equally. I promise that I will do my part to be an active conservationist. I promise that I will do what I can to give back to the community and help those who are less fortunate than I am. I promise that this is a message I will pass on to my children.

It isn't a lot, I know. But it's a start.


Bish Denham said...

If you become the pebble, the ripples of your life will radiate outwards touching many more than those closest to you.

Reduce, reuse, recycle. (We have to do SOMEthing about plasitc....)

Richard Levangie said...


Charles Gramlich said...

If we could all learn something from these horrific events, then it would be more tolerable. Too many refuse to learn, though, and refuse to care.

Kristen Simmons said...

Thank you for writing this, for caring, and for inspiring me, Ellen.

Lily Cate said...

My aunts and cousins and I were just talking about this a week ago - how to instill more graciousness and sense of moral responsibility for our communities and our world in our kids.
I think leading by example is a good place to start.

And I agree with Bish. The plastic...ugh.

Ello - Ellen Oh said...

Thanks everyone! I think the Japan disaster is especially troubling to me also because of the backlash of horrible and negative things people are saying. It's upsetting and heartbreaking. I can't change how some people are going to act and talk, but I will make sure my kids grow up responsible and caring.

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