Thanks for Reading Suburban Adventure

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Test of Character

In my Junior year at Northeastern University in Boston I had the opportunity to meet Reverend Desmond M. Tutu and listen to his presentation. His lecture was moving and spiritual, and one could not help but leave in a serious state of introspection that lasted for days. He was a peaceful and loving man and his desire for people to be good and loving was something that was present in his smile. He had an angelic aura and it was an honor to speak with him.

The overwhelming messaging of spreading good will and kindness was the theme and Reverend Tutu, spoke of the word ubuntu. In African philosophy, it is the reference to the actions toward how people regard each other and their intimate relationships. To have ubuntu is a wonderful quality as it addresses the idea that if you are good to others, goodness will come to you. Conversely, "If I dimish you, I diminish myself." People with this quality are warm, unselfish and kind-hearted. They are not threatened by other's success and happiness. Their self esteem is defined by their existence as a whole group and the belief is that we each need other human beings in order to be human. I was a Sociology major so hearing different cultural messages was common however this message was forever imprinted on my soul.

I bring this up as I have a story in which I believe my behavior was an example of ubuntu. I think Desmund would have been proud of me.

On Sunday afternoon, my children and I went sneaker shopping. Christopher needed new tennis sneakers, Giavanna needed new fashionable sneakers and I needed a combination of both. Mission accomplished- thank you Nike for jazzing up your line of sneakers- Pink with Black Polka dots- Now we are talking.

We spent an hour or more in Olympia Sports trying on sneakers and buying new tennis gear. Since Father's Day is near, I thought perhaps they would select a golf shirt for their Dad. They did that but what I did not expect was the suggestion by Giavanna that we should buy my ex husbands new wife a gift. He has been married well over a year and they have only met her twice. As I asked her why we should buy Sarah a gift and she replied "Mommy, it's the nice thing to do- we never bought her a birthday gift so we should." I let that sink in for a bit as I shopped around and mulled it over. A few minutes later, I heard Christopher speaking with his sister. He was explaining to her that to ask me to buy a present for her his second wife would be inappropriate. I heard him say that Mom does everything for us, she gives us all of her time and takes care of both of us 100 percent. "It just isn't right Giavanna". Christopher was clearly trying to protect my feelings and I found it very moving.

As I thought about it, I actually found both of my children to be endearing. Since each of them were born, I have encouraged them to be kind warm-hearted and generous people. They have seen me help strangers and buy food for people in need. They have observed me giving beautiful things to people who are not as fortunate as we are. I have taught them about other cultures and continually point out how fortunate we are to be living in this part of the country. I have taught them to not be jealous of others, to never envy anyone as they have no idea what is lurking around the bend for that particular person. I have spent time molding them and guiding them to be good, decent, loving and caring creatures. I know that I have succeeded as I see them living in this manner daily. Giavanna was exhibiting all that I have taught her.

I have also emphasized the importance of a close-knit family. I live this as well, tending to and caring for my family in every possible manner. I have emphasized loyalty and the importance of always respecting your family whether you agree with them or not. I have always told them that no one will help you like your family will. Be loyal and true to your family, there is no other relationship that can compare. My Grandfather used to say the following, "You only have one Mother and one Father- no other words were necessary with that statement. The message was strong and very clear. Christopher was exhibiting all that I have taught him about family and loyalty.

The two qualities that I emphasize continually to my kids were being brought into fruition and I found it to be wonderful. I called them both over, I told Giavanna that if she wanted to buy a gift for Sarah, then she would have to do so with her tooth fairy money and it had to be under 15 dollars. I explained to Christopher that Giavanna was making a very kind-hearted gesture. She was only acting in the manner that I have continously taught her and it really was an act of kindness. I encouraged him to see the positive of her gesture and told him that I was fine with it.

She selected a waterbottle with a big B for Boston on it. Im not sure it will go over so well as my former husband and I met in Boston, however it was a gesture from her heart. The box is packed up, presents are wrapped and it's en route to California. I feel proud of my decision and even more proud of both of my children. I know the future will bring similar challenges. I welcome them as they are a test of our character and maturity. Thank you Desmund Tutu- I heard every word and have applied it to my life and it makes all the difference.

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