Friday, December 18, 2009

What does it mean to be an American?

Growing up, it never occurred to me that I was living a life of privilege. I didn't know that it was a luxury to wet my toothbrush under a running faucet so I could brush my teeth (and floss) before I jumped into my very own bed. I never thought it special to reach into the cupboard and pull out baking soda, flour and sugar so I could make a cake with my aunt in her kitchen. I never considered it a right to sit beside my grandmother during Catholic mass and offer up prayers to our God.

As a child, none of those activities ever cross my mind as being privileges and I'm ashamed to say that they haven't really crossed my mind (enough times)as an adult.

But watching a brief program tonight on what it means to be American really moved me to think hard on what it means to me.

I have no answers yet.

Sure, I have a few ideas. Just sitting here and sharing my thoughts with you is an example of the freedoms I enjoy. It's an example of my relative wealth and right to speak freely. Both of which I acquired just by being lucky enough to be born in this country. My mother was not born in this country. I am indeed lucky.

I encourage you to watch the video. The stories shared by the individuals are as varied as the people who share them. I was especially touched by a refugee family being showed how to use the shower and kitchen sink (about 24-25 min in).

What is your footprint?

Ecological Footprint Quiz by Redefining Progress