Save one life

Waiting for results on some important medical diagnostic tests, I can’t help but consider the subject of mortality. We all have only one shot at life on this planet, making it mandatory that we make the best of the one life that we are afforded.

On what seems like a daily basis, we see new stories of mass shootings or an incident resulting in death in multiple cities around the world. It feels as though we have almost become immune to this news, a fact that makes me very sad.

For those who are unfamiliar with sacred Jewish writings, the Mishnah is part of the Talmud, rabbinic discussions on Jewish law, ethics, legends, etc. A famous Mishnah tells us, “Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.”

Each time that I hear of a parent killing a child, a husband killing a wife, or a gang member killing another in retaliation, I think of this quote. By no means do I want to launch a diatribe about gun control. But I do have great fears that we have lost an understanding of the sacredness of life.

It doesn’t take much effort to compile a list of the people who have changed the world in some way. George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. are on this list. So are Mahatma Gandhi, Rosa Parks, Jonas Salk, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Where would we be if these lives had been ended in infancy? And how many of today’s children would grow up to be just as influential if a mother hadn’t drowned him or her in a swimming pool?

At no time, in no place, under any circumstances, do I have the ability to take the life of another unless one of my children or grandchildren is in danger. Realizing that and the frequency and apparent nonchalance of those who do, I continue to worry. This realization causes me to wonder if other educators are teaching the importance of every life to every student. If so, are we making certain that they are listening?

It’s difficult to de-glamorize the violence that children are seeing on television, movies, and video games. But I staunchly believe that we need to spend at least as much energy on acts of kindness, benevolence, and ingenuity. Shalom.

SEO

Anyone who makes a practice of writing for the public knows that in these days, the key to having your work seen by the greatest number of people is SEO or search engine optimization. It’s a given that if you include such words as Trump, Pelosi, Jihad, terrorist, bomber, or pandemic, your viewing population will increase exponentially.

It makes sense. People want to see work that is current or provocative. They want to share it with family members or co-workers. Or they want to appear current in the latest and occasionally best news.

While I admit to having included some SEO in my blogs. Out of over 600 of them, it’s inevitable that I have alluded to politics and those situations that have recently made the biggest news splashes. But beneath all of that, while I admit to checking to see how many people read my blogs, it’s really not about that. If I needed to summarize why I write what I do, it’s simply about following my heart.

Here’s the proof. Today I had reason to make some cole slaw, a dish for which my wonderful mom had established a reputation as her “signature side dish.” She taught me how to make it and while I can’t possibly claim to make a cole slaw as wonderful as hers, the key is her secret ingredient. Obviously, I included that secret addition to the salad today and as is the case each time I make it, I can’t help but think about her and the sadness I feel each time I think about having lost her.

And so, if I were seeking fame, fortune, national publication, or some form of global recognition, I would be talking about subjects like Republicans, Democrats, and legalization of marijuana. But that’s not why I write. I would rather share the part of me that treasures a secret ingredient in cole slaw. Or I would rather write about a special student whom I was blessed to encounter in my classroom. Sometimes, it’s about a restaurant that served breakfast coffee in a beer stein.

There are many places to find SEO and if that is what you seek, I fully understand. If you would rather share some time with my memories and sentiments, you are in the right place. Shalom.