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A World in Which We All Belong: Teju Ravilochan on PYP 467

There's a song that I can never sing, because it makes me cry so hard (actually, there are dozens, which was a problem when I performed with a string band): “Calling All the Children Home,” by John McCutcheon. Go listen to it on Spotify, YouTube, or Pandora – I'll wait.

Here's the chorus, describing the scene as his mother calls the songwriter (Johnny) and his siblings (Mary Claire, Lulu, Jeanie, Kevin, Jeff, Patty, Nancy, Rob), to dinner:

Home to the table and the big, black pot
Everybody's got enough, ‘though we ain't got a lot
No one is forgotten, no one is alone
When she's calling all the children home

You can feel the love and care and mutual responsibility in that close knit Appalachian family. In the final chorus, McCutcheon asks us to imagine a world in which we take care of all our relations as if they were family:

Home to the table, home to the feast
Where the last are first and the greatest are the least
Where the rich will envy what the poor have got
Everybody's got enough, ‘though we ain't got a lot
No one is forgotten, no one is alone
When we're calling all the children home
Gathered 'round the table and the big, black pot
Everybody's got enough, ‘though we ain't got a lot
No one is forgotten, no one is alone
From the sacks in Soweto to the ice of Nome
From Baghdad City to the streets of Rome
When we're calling all the children home

The song ends with a twist; after repeating the names of all his siblings, McCutcheon calls home another set of children, whose names indicate their disparate global origins:

Moishe, Isabelle, Sipho, Kim, Mohammed, Mikael, Red Hawk, Tim

©1990 by John McCutcheon/Appalsongs (ASCAP).

Teju Ravilochan is an entrepreneur through and through. In the best sense of the word – he sees problems and envisions grand communal solutions. From the Unreasonable Institute (now Uncharted.org), which he founded, to GatherFor.org, a community based mutual aid accelerator borne from the pandemic), he brings people together to solve problems and explore possibilities.

And as an activist, speaker, and organizer, he's flexing his entrepreneurial spirit to create a world in which we all treat each other as family. Where we call all our children home, and exclude none.

Talking with Teju has made me a better person: more hopeful, kinder, and more compassionate toward others – including those I have been blaming for their part in perpetuating injustice. Teju asks us to consider the words of Brazilian educator and activist Paulo Freire, who pointed out that oppression has two victims: the oppressed and the oppressor. Both are dehumanized, and we end oppression not simply by overthrowing the oppressors by any means necessary, but by restoring their humanity.

Pour yourself a mug of tea, find a quiet, peaceful spot, and join me in conversation with a bright, compassionate, energetic, and loving spirit.

Links

GatherFor.org

Uncharted.org

Teju's TEDx talk: What Love Can Teach Us About Tackling the Impossible

Teju's article: “Could the Blackfoot Wisdom that Inspired Maslow Guide Us Now?

 

You CAN Change Other People!

Well, that's what Peter Bregman and I claim in our provocative new book of that title.

What we really mean is, you can help the people around you make behavioral changes in their own best interests. If you think you're powerless to help people change, it's because you've been going about it the wrong way.

Discover our straightforward, replicable process here: You Can Change Other People.

Audiobook: Use the Weight to Lose the Weight

Listen to Josh LaJaunie and me narrate our latest audiobook, about how to start moving when you're obese.

It's $10, and Josh and I split it evenly 🙂

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Music

The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.

It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.

You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website, WillRidenour.com.

Gratitudes

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