Thursday, April 21, 2011

DAY 200 - Big Really Big Family

Imagine you had a really large family. And imagine that every time you turned around, there was another family need, responsibility or occasion that you felt drawn to respond to. Grampa needs a ride to his chiropractic appointment. Your niece is getting married; shop for gift, pick up tux, rehearsal, bachelorette party, wedding and reception. Aunt Tori is dealing with cancer; send a card, make a call, discuss possibility of a visit, reflect on her life and the meaning of life. Who’s picking up the CSA? And tomorrow is Liel’s birthday .....

Not recognizing and not responding to these family needs has consequences. A simple lack of planning ahead, also has consequences.

In this world, there is no need for anyone to simply imagine; we all do ... have a really large family; humankind. We are members of communities, states, nations, and are citizens of the world. Not recognizing and not responding to these family members has consequences. A simple lack of planning ahead, also has consequences.

My Mom and Dad raised us to know that others in the world were important, but their actions showed me that their real focus and attention was on the wellbeing of our nuclear family. As I grew, raised a family, and got older, I cared about others, but put almost all of my effort into the wellbeing of my own nuclear family.

I am drawn today to think and write about families, the boundaries that we imagine and live, and the allocation of our efforts during our lives, because of a recent, even literal, watershed event. This last Tuesday night, the Ventura City Council voted 6-0 to not annex the North Ventura Avenue area, nor Canada Larga, areas that had been proposed, if not pushed, for development, i.e., building and expansion. In the minds of a number of residents of Ventura and Ventura County, the annexation of North Ventura Avenue or Canada Larga would have been unsustainable, unecological; a clear step on the road to mirroring the sprawl and unlivibility of Los Angeles, here in Ventura County.

But, it was not the minds of the residents that helped to guide the Ventura City Council to this 6-0 vote, it was the actions of these same people who organized, planned, communicated, and came to City Council meetings. These people came out, stood up, and spoke up because they don’t need to read this essay. They already knew their large family, knew the consequences of not responding, and chose to plan ahead.

If you have appetite for a little more, I would highly recommend the following essay in The Ojai Post, by Steve Sprinkel, Ojai organic farmer, really-big family man, and visionary planner-activist for our future.

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