Who gives a crap?

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills asks “Who gives a crap?” and about what. She declares some things that are important to her, things she gives a crap about, including, but not limited to:

  • the environment
  • nature
  • truth
  • principles
  • equality
  • diversity
  • jobs for all
  • literature and it’s role in society, and
  • conflict resolution.

She says that

“Conflict resolution is finding a peaceful solution to a disagreement. It’s drawing back my hand from the urge to smack. It’s letting go of a need to punish. It’s hearing both sides of the concerns and working toward a way to save our environment and jobs. It means acknowledging the rights or privileges of all. It means agreeing to disagree with compassion for the other. It means uplifting the lowest in our midst instead of only seeking to better our own. It also means checking our words and behavior.”

I give a crap about education. I care about the education of our children. It is through education that we can make a difference in the world; but we can only do that if we educate our children to be thinking, caring, responsible, contributing participants in society and inhabitants of the planet.

We need to teach children about their relationship with the environment, and the impact of their individual, and our collective, actions.

We need to give children time to experience nature and the outdoors; to marvel at its beauty, to appreciate its diversity, and to wonder …

We need to model for children a principled life, in which truth, equality, and diversity are valued, and in which the collective good is more important than an individual’s need for fame or fortune.

We acknowledge that making mistakes is integral to an individual’s learning and tell children it is okay to make, and learn from, mistakes. We encourage them to think for themselves and to be innovative, to see alternative solutions to problems.

If we were to teach them to just accept things as they are because that’s the way they’ve always been (and I query that statement!) how can we expect them to come up with solutions to issues that confront us?

Some of the conflicts mentioned by Charli; for example, providing jobs and preserving the environment, have resulted from our learning, our development, our education.

Maybe we should consider that making mistakes is also integral to our collective learning and development; and be prepared to accept them as such, learn from them, and devise alternative solutions.

For example: We learned about fossil fuels. We saw how they would enhance our lifestyle, and we implemented that learning, creating many new jobs as a consequence.

Now we see that some of those advancements are not as beneficial overall as was initially thought. We made a mistake. It is time for reassessment, for learning, and for thinking of new strategies. We need to leave behind what does not work, and embrace the next step in our development.

Charli asks, “When did we start thinking that only our crap matters and stop giving a crap about others?”

For a while the focus moved away from the importance of community to the importance of the individual and individual rights. Maybe now it’s time to put the focus on community and the role of the individual in it. Let’s not ask what the community/humanity/the world can do for me, but what I can do for the community/humanity/the world.

This brings me back to Charli’s flash fiction prompt to: “In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that expresses a strong concern, something to give a crap about. Something that brings out the feeling to stand up. How can you use it to show tension or reveal attitudes?”

This is my response. I hope you enjoy it.

Pulling together

“It’s mine!” they spat at each other. With faces red and contorted, they pulled in opposite directions.

The object finally stretched to its limit and ripped apart, catapulting the opponents backwards to land on their derrieres.

“Now look what you’ve done!” they accused each other, and scrambled to retrieve what was salvageable.

They contemplated the useless fragments. There were no winners, only losers. Their eyes, previously filled with hate, now brimmed with sorrow.

“What have we done?”

Moving together, each comforted the other, feeling as much for the other’s loss as for their own.

“Let’s start anew,” they said.

I’d love to know what situation you think my story might be about. I’d also love to know what it is that you give a crap about.

Oh, and thanks to Bec’s reminder, I will mention the Who gives a crap toilet paper (that is far from crappy and great for the environment) that Charli mentioned in her post, and I previously mentioned in Around the Campfire.

Thank you

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

43 thoughts on “Who gives a crap?

  1. julespaige

    Could be a drawing (or an article of clothing) – My grandson often frets when a drawing doesn’t go a particular way. He was had a card he had made for someone, but had left it at home – Mom offered to let him make another on the way to the party – but he fitfully tossed the paper and markers away. His fit cost him going to the party.

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  2. Steven

    Another interesting read and with an amusing and catchy title as well. As others have mentioned here, I thought it was some sort of toy like a doll. On my second read through something like Lego came to mind.

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Steven. I guess it could be either of those as well. I’m pleased to see a lot of different ideas being suggested. I hope that means it works! 🙂

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  3. Sherri

    I always love the way your bring out the issues you definitely give a crap about from Charli’s prompts, week after week Norah, never mind toilet paper! Your passion shines through your writing. The point of making mistakes but learning from them is one we can’t hear often enough. We did it wrong, now how can we fix it? I agree, we became too indiviualised along the way as a society, at least in the western world, and somewhere it became all about ‘me’. I’m not hurting anyone, so I’ll just go ahead and do what I want. But we are kidding ourselves. And even when we do something we thought was good, the right thing, but then turns out to be wrong, we can’t pretend it didn’t happen. The kids in your flash proved that! I love the way they stopped blaming one another and realised that they were all responsible, and definitely needed to give a crap for what happened! The first thought that came to me is that they are pulling a toy, like a teddy or something. It’s no good when it’s ripped into pieces! Another great post, thanks Norah! 🙂 xxx

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for adding so much richness to the post with your thoughts, Sherri. You have expressed it all so clearly. I like the way you have summed up my thinking in the post, and my flash. It may well have been children fighting over a teddy bear. I flipped between lots of ideas as I was writing the flash – literal and metaphorical. Thanks for your positivity. I appreciate it. SMAG. xo

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  4. Pingback: To Give a Crap « Carrot Ranch Communications

  5. robbiesinspiration

    Hi Norah. What a wonderful post. I to am greatly interested [and concerned] about the education of our children. It is definitely something that is dear to my heart. I imagine that the children were fighting over a lego airplane. Now that they are friends again they will work out that they can rebuild it together. I tweeted this on @bakeandwrite and posted it to @SirChocolateBooks. Have a happy day [or night over there in Oz].

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for joining in the conversation with your ideas, Robbie. It could have been a Lego airplane. Interesting thought. Thank you for your generous shares on social media – much appreciated. 🙂

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  6. Hugh's Views and News

    Interesting prompt for the challenge, Norah. Here in the UK, we use the word crap as a negative, rather than a positive, word. With regards your flash fiction, was it a sentimental Christmas cracker they were pulling? Maybe it belonged to a recently department Grandmother or maybe one that a child had made at school?

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    1. Norah Post author

      Hi Hugh. Yes, the word has the same connotations here. This is just a slightly different twist to mean “Who cares?”
      Thanks for your interpretations of the story. It could have been any of those. 🙂

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  7. Stephanie Faris

    We do have to eventually figure out what’s important in life and focus on those things. Otherwise we waste too much time spinning our wheels. But I see SO much ineffective conflict going on right now. If you aren’t going to change the other person’s mind, what’s the point? If you can’t handle someone thinking differently, surround yourself with people who think like you. But nobody ever changed their mind after having someone force their opinion on them!

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks for joining us in the conversation, Stephanie. You’ve made some very important points. Figuring out what is important can be the difficult bit! I think, from an early age, we all need to learn to listen respectfully to others’ opinions and thoughts, and to engage them in respectful discussion if we disagree. Teaching children about diversity, and how to get along with each other helps. It is not necessarily easy to teach, but those skills are very important.

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  8. lucciagray

    Great post, Norah. As a teacher I’m also concerned with conflict resolution and mediation, especially peer mediation. I’m teaching adults now, and there seem to be fewer issues, at least fewer issues which require teacher intervention, but conflict is part of our lives and learning to deal with it peacefully is mandatory for a happy life 🙂 The kids in your flash were clever/mature about what happened, but it could have ended in a huge fight. As you said, they learned from their mistake. I think we have to want to learn, to actively look for a solution or common ground. Far too often blind rage takes over and we’re more like wild animals instead of thinking humans unfortunately… .

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    1. Norah Post author

      Hi Luccia, Thank you for adding your perspective to the conversation. I was interested to read that the intervention of the teacher is required less often when working with adults. That could make things more pleasant. I agree that learning how to deal with conflict peacefully is mandatory for a happy life. On the global scale, we have a long way to go. I didn’t want my story to end in blind rage, though I fear that’s where it may end all too often.

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  9. TanGental

    I’m with Bec. I was sure toilet paper would featur at the top of the list! It’s good to see a self inspired conflict resolution in your flash. I guess we are used to conflict. Sadly What amazes and pleases is when intractable enemies find a way to compromise. In South Africa, in Northern Ireland to name two in recent years. I give a crap about helping those sorts of reconciliation. It’s the only way forward.

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    1. Norah Post author

      Well, the toilet paper was at the top of Charli’s list. I just forgot!
      I’m pleased to hear that you give a crap about reconciliation. It’s definitely the only way forward – oh but what a hazardous road!

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  10. Annecdotist

    Norah, you’re so right about the potential value of expecting and learning from mistakes. I think that’s partly how politics got such a mess – although soon we’ll be looking back to the time that politicians only tried to cover up their mistakes as a golden age!
    I’m actually a bit confused about Who Gives a Crap toilet paper being marketed worldwide – of course it’s a great way of drawing attention to the issues, but what does the shipping do to the environment? Although I am curious about the deluxe bamboo version!
    Well, reading your flash I immediately thought of the Brecht play, the Caucasian Chalk Circle, in which two women fight over a baby – from your comment to Charli I’m reminded it’s in the Bible too. But the version in my head is more optimistic (surprise surprise) with the baby being given to the woman who withdraws from the fight. But I like your version – if the women can acknowledge their mutual stupidity, perhaps they can learn from the horrific scenario. And I identify with the implication of collective responsibility for the well-being of children.

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    1. Norah Post author

      Hi Anne, Thank you for adding your wisdom to the conversation. Actually, I’m surprised by the optimism of your response. Apologies for being so. I thought you would consider my flash unrealistic. I like the Brecht version of the story about the women and the baby. I expect that most mothers would not wish to see their children harmed. Sadly, it’s not always the way.
      Politics! I’d rather steer clear of that. There’s too much fighting and I think the conclusion is rarely like that of my flash.

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  11. Charli Mills

    Instantly I thought of two children pulling on a stuffed animal, so intent on owning it, that they tore it. I find the powerful lesson in the story come in not realizing they destroyed it, but that they needed each other’s comfort. It can apply to so many life situations. Like partisan battles in the US with the destruction of our own nation as the result. But would we offer comfort to one another if we lost such a thing? A good lesson for us to ponder, Norah! And thank you and Bec for leading me to TP I can give a crap about! 🙂

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks for your response to my flash, Charli. Your question, “Would we offer comfort to one another?” is a good one. The only situation in which I’ve seen that portrayed is in the destruction of our world, like in “Independence Day” when we all come together to fight the aliens. But then there’s another two in opposition. Even King Solomon couldn’t get the mothers to agree. So my conclusion probably wasn’t realistic, and realistically, I’d like them to agree to not fight before it gets that far!
      At least the toilet paper we use may not be too controversial!

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      1. Charli Mills

        Even at the Women’s Marches where millions came together, there existed fractures and in-fighting, although not widespread. But certainly realistic that conflict will never end; it’s civility in how we manage conflict that also should never end. I love my TP, by the way! Never felt so good about toilet paper before.

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        1. Norah Post author

          That’s so true, Charli. It is the way in which we deal with difference that is important. Difference doesn’t need to equate with conflict.
          I’m so happy you like your toilet paper! I think it’s strong enough for writing! 🙂

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  12. thecontentedcrafter

    Well, I certainly hope that is children in your flash Norah – heaven help us if it’s adults willing to tear something in two to win …….. Oh yes, oops, that’s right they do!! Heaven help us!! I care about so many things I wouldn’t know where to begin. But I’ve learnt getting upset doesn’t help me or the world get any better, so now I do what I can, have a wee rant now and again – well quite often really – when a blog post stirs something up and then get on in my real, daily life, going quietly about my business and doing my best to walk my talk. After years of flirting about the edges I decided to take on seriously, or as seriously as I can, a self guided challenge to change my habitual way of being, thinking and relating to the world. So, for the past three months or so I’m living with the concept of ‘metta’ as Buddhists call it, living in a state of ‘lovingkindness’. It is challenging me to the ends of the earth every day – but just now and again I get a glimpse, a taste, a hint of what it can be like to live with interest and compassion and care for everything and everyone – no judgements, no reserves, so self interest. It’s SO hard! But I imagine a world where we are all practising the art of lovingkindness and it is a nice place to be. So Norah, I guess this is what I most give a crap about right now 🙂

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Pauline, for sharing what you most give a crap about right now. And what a wonderful thing to give a crap about. Oh, if only we could all give a crap about lovingkindness, what a wonderful world it would be. There are aspects of Buddhist philosophy that appeal to me greatly; like the interest in and compassion and care for everything and everyone. I have to say though, that I’m not very good at it when it comes to cockroaches. However, I do apologise and let them know that they are just in the wrong place at the wrong time. I’m very happy for them to be outside, just not in my kitchen! 🙂

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  13. writersideup

    Well, I was imagining children, of course, because I don’t think I’ve ever heard adults fight quite like that. Although, maaaaybeeee… 😉 And the thing I was imagining was a toy like a cloth doll or something that could rip.

    And I give a crap about a lot of things. Maybe too many! There were many on Charli’s list and more. For sure, I agree about education and mistakes. I think that, for the most part, humankind has proven that, as a whole, we don’t learn from our mistakes which is why we keep making them 😦

    There are so many things I think we can all list, but they are probably all interrelated, I would think, like fairness, justice, kindness, and in my book, mankind’s lack of gratitude for all we’ve been given by our Creator. (And yes, I know many don’t believe in a creator, and that’s something I give a crap about, too.)

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Donna, for sharing the things that you give a crap about. Fairness, justice, kindness, gratitude – they are all important aren’t they? I don’t think I covered gratitude, but the others sort of fit into what I wrote, I think. Gratitude is very important though.
      You’re right that we don’t learn from our mistakes. Maybe it’s because we don’t want to admit that they are mistakes. 🙂

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  14. Bec Colvin

    A great post, Nor, and as always a great prompt from Charli! I immediately thought you’d discuss the toilet paper! But this is much more interesting of course!

    Your FF made me think of the Seinfeld episode where Kramer? and Elaine? were fighting over a bicycle. But I pictured something loved – doesn’t matter what it is I suppose. A toy? In a metaphorical sense it makes me think about parents fighting over a child.

    Thanks for sharing your great thought and work.

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks, Bec, and for you reminder about the toilet paper. I had intended to link to it – have done so now. 🙂
      I can’t recall that Seinfeld episode at the moment.
      I started off thinking about two children fighting over a toy; also thought about parents fighting over a child. But had lots of other thoughts as well. Thanks for sharing your perspective. It’s nice to have you back. 🙂

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