In this season of good tiding and hopefulness, it’s been quite a challenge meeting those seasonal goals. With governmental representatives who can’t see the nation through their stubborn pride, and violence in our schools, the climate shifting with no one paying attention, how do we stay motivated?

My answer is, because we have to.  If we don’t , how do things get better?  If we hold down our houses with private arsenals, what type of life is that?  If we have to air condition our houses to stay cool, but the freon and the energy for the appliance make it further necessary, aren’t we creating a self-perpetuating budget booster for the energy companies?  If our government can’t remember that they “Serve at the pleasure of the voters,” (Sorry Aaron Sorkin, I had to paraphrase,) then what kind of a democracy do we have?

But avoiding more tragedies like Newtown, Aurora, Columbine, and the streets of many of our nation’s big cities, we need to give people, young and old, a chance to see a better way.  It’s not going to be easy, but it’s not impossible. 

What if we brought “character” back into the schools?  It might involve using some biblical stories, as they were meant to teach lessons, but in the same context as we study Greek and Norse myths, Winnie the Pooh or other stories that teach cooperation, consideration, collaboration and forgiveness.

Gardening, sewing, woodworking, all take patience. To get the rewards of those efforts you can’t rush them, but the finished project is worthy of pride, celebration and use.  Sometimes despite your best efforts, the final project doesn’t work out. Tomato hornworms, a broken sewing machine, or a bent nail can mar the success of the final product, but it doesn’t erase the work, the care, and the pride that went into that project’s construction.

Work has become a “4 letter word,” for many people, but breaking  a sweat feels good to a lot of people. It may not be rocket science to build a stone wall, but it does take patience, precision, observation and planning, all of which are used in rocket science. And with a rocket it takes off and you probably never see it again. With a stonewall it stands in front of you to celebrate your work, puts rocks in a more productive use than blocking roots, and maybe keeps some intruders away from the flock. (Personally, I think they are beautiful but less than useful. But that’s just me.)

We are seeing a play in Washington DC of what will happen if people continue to be self-centered and stubbornly attached to their beliefs.  There are times when it’s crucial to be right and hold your ground, but there are times when compromise is necessary. When it comes to whether it is morally right to make sure that successful people can continue to collect their money while others go hungry, sick and  homeless, I don’t think there’s anything ambiguous there.  Are we so selfish now that we can’t see that there are those who CAN afford to give a little, and others who can’t?  I think the number of wealthy people who are coming forward and saying, “I think it’s right that I give more,” show that people are aware of what is right.  But have a generations, including mine, that don’t believe that there is  a level of “enough,” and therefore can’t bring themselves to give up anything that doesn’t serve them directly.

We need to revive the sense of community, empathy, personal pride and others that built this country. We need to revive the small towns that built this nation, the small farms and the personal knowledge that allowed people to make wise judgments.  That’s what we’re doing at North Country Sustainability Center, Inc (NCSC) and I think many people agree with those goals.  Join us in our “I’m a Revivor” campaign, coming in 2013, so that we can revive those traits that make any nation great – it’s people have power, show wisdom and compassion.  Our world faces a great many challenges, and more islands of “revivors” we can amass, the faster we can attend those needs, then we’ll all profit from it. 

Merry Christmas, or have a wonderful celebration of a new beginning, whichever you observe.Image