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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Can Our Great Nation Learn From Others?

神奈川沖浪裏 Kanagawa oki nami ura ("The Great ...Image via Wikipedia
Like most of the world, I am glued to the internet and television coverage of the disaster that has occurred in Japan due to the earthquake and tsunami. Mother Nature's force is beyond belief.  My heart is heavy just thinking about all the grief and anxiety this tiny nation must endure.  But, at the end of each day, the thoughts that consume me revolve around the character of the Japanese people and how strikingly different it seems from my fellow Americans.  

Generalizations are tricky things....of course there are wonderful people everywhere.  There were kind neighbors in New Orleans who took friends in and fed and clothed them, too.  But that was not the norm.  Looting and taking what was there for the taking was closer to reality after that disaster.  But, after watching story after story, from the poorest rural towns to downtown Tokyo, I am so impressed by how the Japanese people have reacted to these most trying of times.

I was saying to friends this morning, "wouldn't it be nice if we (collectively) could learn how to cope better in the future by watching the stoic yet kind people of Japan".  You know, learning by example.  One friend said, "so many young people can't even tell you where Japan is on a map", and she's right of course.  Did you ever used to watch the David Letterman bits when they questioned regular folks on the street about things everyone should know?  Japan, heck, they hardly knew who Obama was! I can only hope that these people are watching and witnessing the dignity and behavior of these people.

Each nation seems to have their strong points and it would be delightful if a person could capture only the good characteristics from each nation:
  • From the USA: Our competitive nature and entrepreneurial spirit;
  • From France and Italy: Our sense of style in fashion;
  • From Germany: Our serious nature and persistent nature;
  • From Greece and Brazil: Our ability to relax and enjoy life;
  • From Norway: Our determination and giving nature;
  • From China: Our attention to detail;  
Mix it all up and you'd have terrific way to live this short life we have on Earth!  I may not be able to persuade others to be better people...to improve their character, but I can begin at home....on myself.  It starts at home, then grows to your neighborhoods and towns.  Soon, a whole state could get the reputation of behaving with good characteristics.  It could be infectious and before you know it, the United states of America is seen as a nation with good values, loving nature and have the capacity to withstand anything Mother Nature brings her way.  It could happen! Good character could rush over us like a giant tsunami!  One can only hope and pray.................................
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2 Comments:

Blogger Don E. Chute said...

I believe the answer is a resounding NO. Not all but most of US are;

Narcissistic-Whiners-Complainers-Weak-Selfish-Thugs-Thieves-Mentally Ill-Substance Abusers-Felons-Perverts and the list goes on....

Compared to the Japanese people we are the scum found under scum.

May God Help Us.

PLU

March 15, 2011 at 6:09 PM  
OpenID sweetmeow said...

I, too have been watching how the Japanese have been responding to their crisis, and it sure is calm and polite! This is not us!

One of our country's roots is it's "rugged individualism", and, imo, when this is taken to an extreme, it can become selfish. "I pulled myself up by my boot straps - so can you."

Mix this with what I see as this "sense of entitlement" - that you're owed something, then you end up with too many people who only have "me" in their vocabulary.

In all fairness - in the crises we've have, I am always heartened by how much others do rally around each other. But -- it's usually short lived, and rather different with the Japanese -- it's their calm resourcefulness and acceptance we don't have.... It's their belief that the "whole" is just as important as the individual.

March 16, 2011 at 2:18 AM  

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