Anyone who’s traveled by air knows the Oxygen Mask safety presentation: put the mask on yourself before you assist the person beside you. Focus on your own survival first. That seems logical. You can’t help others if you’re dead—hence, take care of #1.
What if we were taught to put the oxygen mask on the person beside us first? What if, in the final moments, instead of focusing on yourself, you help the person next to you? Your final thoughts would be of concern for others, your final actions acts of compassion, and you’d be filled with the spirit of giving.
What if you could count on that person sitting next to you, to save you? How freely would you travel knowing you could count on the kindness of strangers to see you safely through. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to know that the person sitting next to you—whether you know them or not—has your back. What if, from birth, we’d been taught this principle? Many talk it, “do unto others as you’d have them do unto you,” but society as a whole is falling short. We’re not taking care of each other; we’re a nation of people looking out for #1.
I’m an Iowa farm girl. We had dairy cows and hogs; we raised corn and soybeans; grew alfalfa for hay and oats for straw. Our farm was self-sufficient and I’ve been taught to be self-sufficient. I’ve been taught it’s irresponsible not to take care of myself; it’s my job to look out for #1—so ultimately I can look out and take care of the people next to me. The problem is, I’m not able to do it alone and make ends meet, just me, looking out for #1. The pressure is overwhelming.
There’s a screamer band out there with a hit, and let me paraphrase because a google lyrics search didn’t reveal the artist and song, “How can I save you when I can’t even save myself?” If I don’t buy into the oxygen mask theory, I don’t have to worry about saving myself, the people here next to me will do that. Then I could focus on what’s truly important-helping others.