Show Some Respect

the respect cycle

It’s Friday!! Do you know where your weekend is? How was your week? Hope things went well for each of you!

Thanksgiving is on the horizon next week and, around this time of year, I always get a bit mystical … spiritually astute, if you will. Over the years, I have learned to let things go that ” don’t serve me in a positive way”! This is one of the premises of yoga practice, to come and leave your problems and worries elsewhere, either the door or on your yoga mat. It is a time to connect your spirit with your body by using your breath. I feel less worried, have gained an uncanny ability to ignore nonsense, and to pay less attention to negativity … from any source … as it does not serve me in a positive way. I love myself more than anyone on the planet …. also in a healthy way. In fact, loving myself allows me to feel more positive toward others who are open to the good vibrations we may share. Otherwise, have a good day!

Today is the fiftieth anniversary of John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s assassination. I have a lot of feeling regarding this event in our nation’s history. The first one is derived from the fact that JFK was born on May 29, 1917, while my mother (RIP) was born on May 20th, 1917 … the same year! My mom was one of the people in the Winbrook Projects who encouraged folks living there to register to vote, understand the issues and legislation that were important to the low income population there, and “get involved in local politics”. I spent many hours with her, at her side, listening to her and basically following her around while my father worked many hours for Pinkerton Detective Agency. Life was so cool, we played games like stickball and knock hockey in the Big Playground, people in the Projects didn’t even lock their doors until going to bed. It was common to borrow a cup of sugar or milk from a neighbor. I decided in fourth grade that I wanted to play an instrument, which was free at Rochambeau Elementary School, and, we even received instruction during school from the band and orchestra leader, Mr. Norman LeBlanc.

So, this particular Autumn day, I had carried my trombone to school because I had a private lesson. I always liked Mr. LeBlanc because he had so much passion for music and kids. I initially wanted to play the drums but there were too many kids who wanted the same. So he had talked me into playing the trombone after I refused the baritone as a second choice. As I sat in class, learning the scales on the slide trombone, a message came over the intercom system there at Rochambeau School. It said, “Boys and girls, teachers and staff, the president of the United States, John Kennedy, has been shot in the head in Dallas, TX!” Mr. LeBlanc looked at me with a long stare. I asked him, “What did they say? Are they serious?” He replied, “They said the President, Kennedy, has been shot in the head!” The room fell silent as he and I were there alone amongst all the school supplied and owned instruments until I broke the silence. I asked him, “Do we shoot our presidents here in America?” He sighed and said, “Yes, John … and he is not the first one.” I was in fourth grade.

Last night, there was a story on about Lee Harvey Oswald and his mother when they had moved into a building in New York City. The focus of the story was the teenager’s fascination with BB guns. The inhabitants of the building reported being shot, their windows being pelted and near sniper attacks on residents after Oswald and his mother moved in. No respect, not even for the elderly women! As our country “progresses”, people seem less concerned with humanity, with values that foster an existence free of stress and drama, and are often simply rude and disrespectful! Anything goes!! Are we surprised, like I was, that people in America want to kill the president? Now, whether you like someone or not, is not so important. Certain people during my upbringing like adults, cops and presidents, all deserve a certain amount of “unconditional respect”. I mean, how many of you reading this have ever run for the office of the President of the United States of America?! So, it’s not the most common profession, if you see where I am coming from, and requires a huge amount of experience, training and plain old courage and chutzpa. They didn’t get into office by “gangster” tactics, they got voted into office!! So, why not show some respect for these people, especially since “we” can’t lead a country like they do?! RIP JFK …

As the Holy Days roll around, try to heighten your consciousness for each other and show some respect, and try to avoid the continued erosion of the fabric of human civilization. For without it, we are doomed to destroy each other! Look around, it’s already begun! Be well.


John I. Cook, Director

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