Living in Two Worlds
Part 1

The last four essays, I talked about the two major problems facing America in this moment of time. COVID-19 and racism are killing blacks both physically and emotionally. My last article dealt with my journey down the yellow brick road, especially from the 60s to the present. I mentioned two songs that were reflections of where blacks and white liberals were: The Times They Are A-Changin’ and We Shall Overcome.

Bob Dylan’s rough draft of The Times They Are A-Changin’

Joan Baez singing, We Shall Overcome

Amid the mess in America today, we are living in a remarkably similar time with that of the 60s. Donald the Dumb didn’t create either COVID-19 or racism, but he is making both worse. Part of his problem is psychological. Also, he lacks the mental acumen to focus on problem-solving, and, even if he had some IQ, he doesn’t care. The be-all and end-all of Trump is Trump.

Additionally, Trump was not responsible for creating the two worlds in which we all live and function. He has only become the posterchild for the disconnect between what is right and good as opposed to what is wrong and evil. This is how we all feel while living in our two worlds.

It is a paradigm of Vangelis’ Heaven and Hell

Today’s essay deals with another song. In the late 60s, Crosby, Stills & Nash wrote and sang, Teach Your Children.

Teach Your Children

You who are on the road
Must have a code that you can live by
And so become yourself
Because the past is just a good-bye.
Teach your children well,
Their father's hell did slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picks, the one you'll know by.
Don't you ever ask them why, if they told you, you will cry,
So just look at them and sigh
And know they love you.

And you, of tender years,
Can't know the fears that your elders grew by,
And so please help them with your youth,
They seek the truth before they can die.

Teach your parents well,
Their children's hell will slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picks, the one you'll know by.

Don't you ever ask them why, if they told you, you will cry,
So just look at them and sigh and know they love you.

Teach Your Children is an attempt to teach children how to live life, but it is also about the younger generation helping the older generation as “They seek the truth before they can die.” Therefore, we live in two worlds. The first one is a vastly self-centered world filled with indifference and dislike for much of the rest of the world. The other world is what the world could be. Lincoln ended his inaugural address hoping that we should reflect “the better angels of our nature.”

Lincoln’s Inaugural Address

So, that is the back story about where we are in America today…we are living in two worlds. Nevertheless, allow me to tell you about a child who lives on the other side of the world from me but lives in my heart of hearts. Her name is Snow, well, that is her nickname. I met Snow six years ago at her preschool class. She was four at that time. Snow is sitting next to her two year old sister, Fatty. Snow, at four, is listening intently to her teacher’s instructions for an assignment.

Four years ago, I went back to Myanmar to visit my family. As a four year old, Snow didn’t remember me, but she heard all about me from Ti Ti, her sister who five years older than her. Her parents also talked about the guy who came from America. I spent a week with my family, and, the day that I was to leave them, we went for a walk. The details about who was with us or where we were going has long since melted away as a lost memory. Nevertheless, what I clearly recall was leaving their home for a walk. I assume the entire family was on the walk. That part of my memory is lost because of Snow. She is quiet. However, it couldn’t have been but a few steps from their home that, as the group began the walk. Snow without saying anything or looking at me took ahold of my hand. It was one of those quiet times in life that the silence was deafening. There Snow was as an eight year old wanting to express her love for me. I don’t recall how long we walked hand in hand, but I will never forget that expression of quiet love.

The day before I left to return to the States, the family took me out for dinner and then drove me to my hotel. Ko Ko drove, Moh Moh set on the other side with Ti Ti between them. So, the adults sat in the front seat, and the three kids, Fatty, Snow and I were in the backseat. I was sitting in the middle between Fatty and Snow. As their father started to drive to the hotel, I reached over and took ahold of Snow’s hand. I precisely followed Snow’s methodology. I said nothing nor did I look at her.

Two years later during my winter break from teaching this past winter, I returned and gave my three grandchildren small gifts of jewelry. Each of them was given a small box with a brooch inside. After touring some places that I had been and other places that were totally new in Myanmar, I had to return to the States and said good-bye to my family. This was Snow’s Christmas gift to her PaPa Al. It was the box that had her brooch. She replaced my gift to her with her gift to me.

Moh Moh and Ko Ko have taught their children well. Snow, at eight, knew that there are two worlds out there and chose the world in which she wants to live. Years ago, I invented this saying, “It is in giving that we get.” At the time, it kind of sounded familiar, but I couldn’t recall who said something similar. Therefore, I googled it. It was St. Francis of Assisi. His one-liner was “For it is in giving that we receive.”

Snow reached out to me, and I reached out to her. It is so simple everyone can easily understand it. However, many in America, can’t grasp that simple truth. They kill people due to skin color or don’t care about those that are sick. They live in the hell that they created. Our choice is to teach our children to love as Snow’s parents did to her, Ti Ti and Fatty. I have told Moh and Ko Ko that discovering my family in Myanmar has made me a very rich person. It is in giving that we get. As a child reaches out to you, both are blessed.