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The Japanese – symbol of strength and resilience

The Japanese – symbol of strength and resilience

Life & Death Matters Post

As we look to Japan many of us wonder how we can help. I wonder if we might better ask what we can learn from this dignified and resilient people?

Stephen Lewis in his keynote address at the Association of Death Education and Counseling conference in Montreal a few years ago, spoke of the grief in war torn countries. He encouraged the bereavement counsellors in the audience to continue in the important work that they do internationally, or to start providing help internationally. He talked of the value of their work.

As I listened to him, I reflected on my dear colleague Andrea Warnick who went Indonesia following the massive earthquake, worked in an orphanage with grieving children, returned home and using their art made calendars to raise money for that orphanage. Though she had worried about being “an extra mouth” I think she made a valuable contribution.

I think about Stephen Lewis encouraging people to volunteer, I think of Andrea and her contribution… but I still reflect on the fact that every person who goes to Japan to “help” is also one more mouth to feed.

I read the papers and listen to the news, and hear of the remarkable resilience of the Japanese people.

And I wonder if we need to worry less about what they can learn from us, and more about what we need to learn from them!

According to John Bradfield “In Japanese culture the Bamboo plant symbolizes strength and resilience and luck and success because of its ability to grow quickly”

I think I will plant bamboo this spring.


Photo: Arun Kumar Sinhar on Flickr
Photo and quote about the bamboo retrieved March 22,2011 from

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