History Is Our Teacher

History Is Our Teacher

 

 

We recently took a cruise on the Mississippi River. I’ve been curious about this River ever sense I learned how to spell Mississippi and read “Huckleberry Finn.” The river is wide and majestic, and watching the paddlewheel spin through the water was mesmerizing.

 

Our stop in Vicksburg took us to the Civil War battlefields where we saw trenches dug by the soldiers in an attempt to protect themselves from the opposing army. Our guide had ancestors who fought those battles and gave us chills as she told stories of men coming up the hill with rifles and fixed bayonets. She asked us to picture ourselves on the top of that hill watching thousands of soldiers advancing toward us with the intent of taking our lives and realizing that some of these men will be our brothers, our neighbors or friends. On the side of that hill is a cemetery where 17,000 soldiers are buried. This whole experience took us out of the history books and into an emotional place we had never been.

 

Further down the river we visited amazing mansions in Natchez, St. Francisville and Nottoway. We were awestruck by the 400-year-old live oak trees that surrounded these homes of grandeur.

 

Seeing the slave quarters was another emotional experience, the disparity between the mansions and the meager room for a slave and his family threw us into an address called Humility. I couldn’t help feel a great sense of gratitude for the amenities of my childhood.

 

On the way home we talked about what we had observed and learned and felt a deep sadness for such wreckage in our country created out of such division.

 

Upon arriving home, we turned the on the news, checked in with several stations and again felt sadness over the anger, blaming and divisiveness threading through the political climate. How much have we learned from our Civil War history?? As my purpose in writing these blogs is to reflect the messages and tools provided in Georgette’s coping cards, I’m going to ask you to give the following some thought. One coping card I picked to ponder says, “I have a right to be treated with respect.”  “I have a right to say I don’t see it that way.”

Another card focuses on an Intimacy Bank Account. For our purposes here, let’s call it a United Country Bank Account. Withdrawals from this account include, “My Way or No Way” thinking, criticism, negativity, being dismissive and being a poor listener.

 

Deposits in this United Country Bank Account would include behaviors such as encouragement, being supportive, flexibility, open-mindedness, listening and willingness to compromise.

 

Think about where and how you might start making deposits to foster connectedness among people in our country. Think about behaviors you can demonstrate to weave a stronger sense of unity and respect for fellow citizens. And if your neighbor, friend or brother is of a different mindset than you are ask yourself, “how can I disagree in a climate of respect”??

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