Sometimes with all the financial scandals we are currently hearing about we lose sight of our true Spirit. Whether this is Irish, American, English, Scottish or whatever, it is important to remind ourselves of our true Spirit which is far greater than any recession and far deeper than any surface financial storm. In fact perhaps this very financial storm is the catalyst for realigning us with our true Spirit and values. What might some of these values be? What do you think they are? What top three values would you like your nationality to have?
Here’s some important values which make me proud to be Irish:
1. Generosity of Spirit – “when I’m hungry give me someone to feed” is what I believe Mother Theresa said. Perhaps because of our history, in particular the famine 1847, when 1 million Irish people died and 1 million had to emigrate (a quarter of the Irish population at the time) we’ve been very generous in giving to causes around the world and many Irish people have dedicated their whole lives to helping the much less well off. Lets show the world that our generosity far surpasses any greed that has been highlighted in recent times.
2. Friendliness – “Cead Mile Failte”, this of course means 100,000 welcomes. The Irish have been known as a very friendly race and indeed it has been an attraction for many tourists over the years. Let us open our hearts once more to welcome everyone into this island of ours and let them experience true Irish friendliness, fun and great value!
3. Family Values – “The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home” – Confucius. The future of the human race is in our children, not our property or share portfolio. Most of all we MUST give our children our love and our time. In giving them our time, a resource which none of us will ever get back we demonstrate at a deep level how important they are to us and how much we love them. Up to quite recent times the Irish were known to be quite laid back and we had a lot more time for our families and other people. Let us give more time to our families and as a society lets reward this rather than rewarding those who sell unscrupulous financial investments. We must learn to teach our children well because the very future of humanity depends on it.
4. Sporting Values – the Irish play sport all over the world whether its gaelic football, soccer, rugby, boxing, athletics, cycling and so on. And there’s one thing for sure, we are known for having a lot of fun around it. We bring music and “craic” to it all whether we win or lose. Lets keep celebrating this!
5. A deep sense of History – there’s literally millions of people around the world, in particular in the USA that claim Irish decent, far more than there are Irish people!!! Over the centuries the Irish influence has spread far and wide and there is much to be proud of. We were once even called the “Isle of Saints and Scholars”. Lets remind ourselves of the great people that once walked this land, our Mothers and Fathers, our writers and poets, our sports people, our true visionaries, our musicians, our economists and business people who built their careers with integrity and a sense of service, the mainstream clergy who’s intention was to educate us in mind and Spirit, our medics, our teachers, our true Politicians and the millions more who gave of their lives in the greater service of the Irish people and indeed all of humanity. It is because of their sacrifice and vision we enjoy all the blessings we have today. The question we MUST now ask ourselves is – what blessings will we leave for our children?
6. A Spiritual Connection – “Be Still and Know”. The Irish have always had a Spiritual tradition in fact we’ve had a few and have often fought about them! However no matter what religion or even non-religion we have aligned ourselves with, the Irish have always felt a strong connection to the divine. There are countless historical sites around Ireland echoing this spiritual wisdom from our ancestors. Let us not get caught up too much in the “doingness” of life that we do not have time to enjoy the journey of “being” and connecting with this divine invisible presence that is always with us. Indeed this very presence constantly offers us guidance on our lifes journey, should we take the time to listen.
7. Peace prevails in Ireland – for approximately 800 years there has been trouble in Ireland, in the main with our closest neighbours the English. In 1998 a peace agreement was signed and at this stage even the IRA have disarmed. Yet how much celebration has there been about peace? How much do we hear about the positive developments since the peace deal was signed? How much have we got to offer to the many other places of conflict around the world to help peace be realised there? Peace in the main has been realised in Ireland, lets at least put as much energy into spreading this amazing news as we do to bombarding the world with bad news!
Given these seven values I for one am proud to say I’m Irish. Of course I’m sure there are many more reasons to be proud to be Irish and I invite you to share yours in the comments below. I also invite you if you’re from any other nationality to share reasons why you are proud of your nationality. As the Chinese say “Its better to light a candle than curse the darkness”
Here’s another verse from an appropriate song to finish this article.
When Irish hearts are happy,
All the world seems bright and gay.
And when Irish eyes are smiling,
Sure, they steal your heart away.