X& , C
PHOTO BY BILL FAVER
WE DON'T INHERIT the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.
We Borrow The Earth
BY BILL FAVER
There is an old Pennsylvania Dutch expression
which goes something like this: "We don't inherit the
earth from our ancestors, we bor
row it from our' children."
This not-so-suhtle reminder of
our role in the ownership of the
earth is something all of us need to
understand. When we come to real
ize we only "borrow the earth," we
should be able to see what our
stewardship of the earth means to
us and to our environment.
Inheritance implies ownership.
We have property handed down
i r J
from one generation to another. That's how we end up
with Aunt Sofie's portrait or somebody's badly worn
chair. It is ours to do with as we please. Some of it
wears out while in our care. Some stays in the safety
deposit box until passed on to another generation, do
ing us little good! But ownership gives us the right to
do with the property pretty much what we please.
Borrowing is another matter. When we borrow
something, we intend to make a specific use of it and
then return it to the owner. It isn't ours at all.
Borrowing carries the responsibility to take good care
of the item borrowed so that we can return it in as
good a condition as when we received it.
"Borrowing the earth from our children" tells us we
do not own it. What we do own in property rights is
the use for a time. We borrow for a while. We practice
good stewardship while it is in our care and return it to
the next borrower in good condition.
If we can understand and practice the old Penn
sylvania Dutch saying, we'll take better care of the
earth entrusted to us.
What Are We Really Teachina Kids?
"Maybe. How much will you pay
me if I do?"
"Oh, I think that's worth about a
Whoa! Surely I wasn't hearing
Fay? To make up her bed and
straighten up her room? Since when
did routine household chores be
come negotiable with a 9-year-old?
Probably about the same time we
began rewarding kids for behavior
that should be the norm. When
every A or B on a report card began
to have monetary value, every book
read worth a treasure chest prize.
Nothing, it seems, has innate value.
It may not be a popular idea in
some circles, but I'm convinced we
stifle children's sense of worth and
confuse their values when we send
them scrambling for prizes or teach
them that something or someone has
value only when it bears a price tag.
We're teaching our kids to be greedy
WllFMers ("What's in it for me?"),
that the only reason to do something
A good thing
just got better.
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is to get something tangible back in
I asked a friend who is a parent
about this. "Well, you know the sto
ry about the mule that followed the
carrot dangling on a stick."
Oh, yes, positive motivation, of
fering an incentive for the behavior
you want (moving forward) instead
of punishing the behavior you don't
want (sitting in the mud).
Sorry, we may act as stubborn as
a mule sometimes, but we are not
We are human beings, innately
curious, creative, tooled for lifelong
learning, gifted with the ability to
reason, to comprehend, to dream. At
an early age most of us can distin
guish good from evil, right from
Unlike the mule, we can learn to
motivate ourselves from within. We
don't have to have a carrot on a
stick, which is a good thing since
carrots aren't always in season.
Sometimes we do need a spark,
though, someone who believes in us
even when we do not believe in our
When we overuse rewards, I think
we unwittingly undermine not only
kids' natural love of learning and
their creativity, but also their strong
need to belong and to be useful. And
to think we do it in the name of
building their self-esteem.
Kids need to learn to like them
selves all the time.
Why not make them contributing
members of the family, the school,
the community, giving them appro
priate responsibilities and privileges,
as well as the opportunity to suc
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. '9K .
Library Friends Need Help
To Keep Service Available
To the editor:
The community is kx>king for
ward to the renovation of the
Shallotte branch of the county li
brary system. This renovation will
mean the closure of the building for
about five months beginning in
March so the work can be done in a
swift and safe manner.
Many library users hope that
some form of service can be contin
ued in the area during this period.
This might mean moving to an emp
ty store, use of a church for the chil
dren's reading program and even re
activating the Bookmobile on a lim
The local Friends of the Library
has approached the Library Board of
Trustees about working out an
arrangement so that some level of li
brary service can be maintained dur
ing the renovation. This support in
cludes raising a yet-to-be-deter
mined amount of money to pay rent,
utilities and moving expenses, and
the possible use of volunteers in
If library service (even on a limit
ed basis) is to be kept, the support
ers need to come forth and let the
Friends of the Library know of their
interest. Please attend the meeting
this Friday, Nov. I4), at I p.m. at the
N.C. National Guard Armory in
Don F.ggert, Chairman
Board of Library Trustees
Vietnam Vets Deserve
More From Brunswick
To the editor:
As I watched the national Vet
erans Day ceremonies on television.
1 couldn't help wondering why
Vietnam veterans can't get the sup
port and services they need in
First of all. I don't think President
Clinton and Vice President Gore are
worthy of appearing on the same
podium with any veterans on any
day. Clinton is a draft-dodger and
his health care plan will make things
even worse for the veteran than they
Second. I think Brunswick
County ought to have a place where
Vietnam veterans can get together as
a group and talk about their experi
ences and the problems they have in
common. I served two tours in
Vietnam as a Marine and, believe
me, no one can understand unless
they were there, too.
We have to go to Fayetteville to
get medical care through the VA,
and there are no medical personnel
nearby who have enough knowledge
of post-traumatic stress disorder and
the other medical problems Vietnam
veterans have to deal with.
With all the Vietnam veteran has
gone through and given for his
country, it's a disgrace that Bruns
wick County doesn't care about giv
ing something back.
Curtis E. Hullard
Advice For Speedy
To the editor:
In one of the late James Thurber's
humorous books there's a sketch
submitted to him by a reader, show
ing a large number of cats crawling
inside a home, and under the sketch,
the reader's comment: "We have
cats the way most people have
Thurber's reply: "I see you have.
I can't tell from your communica
tion, however, whether you wish ad
vice or are just boasting."
This came to mind after I read
Eric Carlson's Nov. 4 column, in
which he describes how he got his
most recent speeding ticket and de
tails his traffic "rap sheet."
If it's advice you're seeking. Eric,
here's some: Don't get another tick
et; there's no excuse for it! I've been
driving since 1938 and have never
gotten a speeding ticket, or one for
any other moving violation. Now
that's something to boast about.
And I'm not a slowpoke, either. I
flew at 300 knots across the Ever
glades, so low that had I dropped by
tailhook, I'd have snagged an alliga
tor! But highway speed limits are
posted for a good reason ? to protect
us. and others in our paths.
So slow down, Eric, or go sit in
Alden B. Carlson
Belle Mead, N.J.
EDITOR S NOTE: The writer is
the columnist 's father.
You'd Scream , Too
To the editor:
This is just a note in response to a
letter to the editor last week from
I don't feel that I have in any way
libeled Martin Marietta when I state
that they apparently have no real
concern for the citizens of Bruns
wick County. Rather it appears that 1
am joined by many concerned citi
zens in my cry of dismay at what
I would like for Mr. Brandt to
avail himself of the material we
have reviewed, or perhaps to take a
tour of the Castle Hayne site.
Better yet, maybe he should
check out the other sites this com
pany has utilized in the past. I be
lieve that if he looked at the facts,
not the hype, he would have to agree
with the seven local townships who
have resolved against it, as well as
the people who have signed
There may he applications for this
type of mining where the environ
mental impact would not he so
great. When a company such as
Martin Marietta endangers our
drinking water, estuaries, protected
species and, most importantly, our
children, I am inclined to believe
that they do not care.
I guess when you feel that your,
and your neighbors', quality of life
is on the endangered list, you might
scream a little, too.
EDITOR S NOTE: There was a ty
[wgrapliical error in Mr. Brandt's
letter last week. The sentence in
which the error occurred should
have read, "No reasonable person
could suppose men who seek to
engage in such a technical business
are indifferent to local conse
quences, especially in these days
when litigious lawyers and victims
are quick to seek compensation. "
We regret the error.
Not All Radicals
To the editor:
Through well-placed sources I've
heard it said that John Harvey and
others of his ilk on the Brunswick
County Planning Board consider in
formed environmental activists to be
leftover hippie radicals from the
Tell me, Mr. Harvey, how do you
label your group ? those who would
sell us down the Cape Fear River,
seeking to open our county "back
yards" to any and all who wish to
plunder and pollute?
Not only do you have your priori
ties badly confused, but also perhaps
your perception of who is in the mi
We welcome your letters to the
editor. Letters must include your
address and telephone number.
(This information is for verifica
tion purposes only; we will not
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dress or phone number.) Letters
must be typed or written legibly.
Address letters to:
The Brunswick Beacon
P.O. Box 2558
Shallotte NC 28459
Anonymous letters will not be
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2170 Midland Rd? So. Pines, NC 28387
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Wilmington Center (800) 995-4440 ? Brunswick County Center (910) 754-5434 or (800) 422- 1564
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