Thursday, May 30, 2013

Preparing a Future for You to Harvest

Preparing a Future for You to Harvest

While some grandmothers choose to rock and knit, others stand boldly on the broad shoulders of ancestors who left powerful legacies and embrace them forthrightly.  Not cut from a singular cloth, millions of grandmothers, abuelas, jaddats and nanas in the 21st century are building legacies reflective of the truths and powers in which we now stand.  And, we’re continuing the practice of turning the world on the axis of affirmation and empowerment, driven by visions of the kind of safer and saner world we really want to leave our grandchildren.   

It’s not about attempting to leave perfection.  For so many of us this has been about preparing a future for our grandchildren to harvest in a world that reflected how much we cherish Mother Earth and their future.  The sounds of laughter, smells of things freshly harvested from the garden; the time and support to grow you into and through the completion of your childhood; and just more of the tastes of the sweetness of life are what millions of us work tirelessly for you to inherit:  Not bombs and bullets whizzing through urban enclaves or  thousand-year old villages; genetically modified food depleted of the nutrients needed to grow your minds and bodies strongly; nor turning multiple generations into the streets to flail and fend for themselves.

 There are those who spend time creating halcyon memories with our grandchildren taking them on vacation, teaching them to read (while they teach us to program our phones and computers) and providing them with fantasy driven, overly corporatized, birthday parties.  There are millions of others, well into their 70s, who continue to work and scrape together funds for college tuitions, housing and support for the most horrific and unimaginable medical crisis.  Then there are those who were attacked by dogs, beaten, tear gassed and jailed while peacefully seeking to secure rights for you and your future.

 Almost to a grandmother, we each have a vision or ideas for a world we took to the streets, founded companies and advocated to local, national and global legislative bodies on behalf of your futures.  We come to this table, complete with our well seasoned and sometimes wisdom-filled minds and spirits, as activists, teachers, healers, artists, writers and presidents of countries.  Some of us even rock the mic as poets, singers and comediennes.   From war torn villages in Somalia where we rock you through the sounds of gunfire to fields in Sri Lanka where we pick tea to multi-generational family compounds in Suriname (where ancestral stories about the Djukas and Amerindians are shared) and classrooms in Kenya, the United States and Cuba from which we teach physics, literatures of the Diaspora, languages on the verge of extinction or labs where we conduct cutting-edge research, we remain mindful of the perils plaguing the world.

We continue to work earnestly to share the awe, wonders and treasures of living the human experience, for where ever we stand (or sit) in the world, billions of grandmothers carry their grandchildren purposefully in their hearts and spirits each step of the day.

Daphne Muse is a writer, social commentator and poet.  Her commentaries have aired on NPR and been published at Portside, the Washington Post and San Francisco Chronicle.  You can read her commentaries at or email her at

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