It’s a Small, Small World … and Getting Smaller…

Dear Reader:

I remember the last time I rode through the “It’s a Small Small World” Disney ride… I left with tears in my eyes… there is something so touching about listening to the children sing while watching all the adorable child-like mannequins from different countries. I would be perfectly content to stay seated in the ride and travel around the world repeatedly. If only the real world had this same innocence of acceptance for the world’s people inhabiting our planet.

I think historians will look back at 2020 when the Deadly Pandora Box was opened and released the ” Coronavirus” spreading throughout our entire planet – as a change agent that upended cultural customs and daily life routines for each country’s citizens …like nothing we had experienced on such a monumental scale.

There was nowhere to run, nowhere to hide and as recent medical reports have explained… this stubborn mutant virus doesn’t seem to want to disappear now that it has arrived…so it just keeps transforming itself. It has made most countries want to close the doors and throw away the key… turning inward. But as history repeatedly shows… that never works!

(As our own country has learned) …we are tied to the rest of the world for essential trade and economical bartering … if ” No man is an island” … then no country is completely self-sustaining. We have to find a way to help each other in order for everyone to survive.

And the more we study history… the more we realize that most of us grew up with a rather skewed image of it…geared towards bragging rights for our country’s achievements… while leaving out important achievements that other countries had forged ahead … long before America entered the picture.

For example… we all grew up celebrating Christopher Columbus and memorizing the little ” ditty…” In the year 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue…” We were lead to believe he was the best explorer around… he founded America and then other European explorers jumped in the game …the” giants”of snatch everything you can” explorations. It took awhile to admit that these ” explorations ” were destructive to the cultures who initially welcomed them before realizing they were there to take and control… not give or live in peace.

Admiral Zheng He was almost seven feet tall

But 75 years prior to the European ” Age of Explorations” Chinese explorer -Admiral Zheng He lead a series of seven spectacular voyages to the West. The little known explorer makes Columbus look ” small-time.” He commanded a fleet of 300 vessels … nearly five times the size of Columbus’ ships ( size of a soccer field today)

Zheng He’s biggest ship was the treasure ship. Measuring 440 feet and 180 feet in beam. It was powered by 9 masts -the ship was loaded with gold, silver, oils, and silks, which the Chinese explorers didn’t plunder from newly discovered lands, like later the Europeans, but the treasures were given as gifts to the countries. A thank you for the visit.

His ships were served by 28 thousand men ( as compared with 90 men on the Nina, Pinta, and the Santa Maria.) Unlike European expeditions, Zheng’s voyages were not in search of treasure or trade, but to show off the might and power of the Ming Dynasty… historians think Zheng might have sailed around the Cape of Good Hope, Europe, and even the Caribbean…. almost a century before European explorers.

Today the European explorers get credit for voyages because a new political party comprised of conservative Confucian scholars convinced the Chinese emperor that these voyages were too costly and China should turn inward and isolate itself from the rest of the world…. keep building the wall and write off Admiral Zheng’s accomplishments from the official record. So as Europe began broadening its horizons and sending explorers across the globe… China was closing its doors.

Two interesting tidbits… Admiral Zheng brought back exotic animals for the emperor’s zoo. The first giraffe came to Beijing in 1414. ( The Chinese were convinced it was a legendary animal from their folklore, the ” chi-lin.” It was believed to be an omen that the heavens favored them.)

I know Eva Cate and Jake’s favorite part of visiting the Columbia Riverbanks Zoo was always feeding the giraffes!

Riverbanks Zoo

So until tomorrow… If the world could just remember one adage and everyone adopt it as their mantra through life… ” Be kind, Be kind, Be kind”… what a beautiful world we could create together. ( A real small small world) ” No matter what” follow the Golden Rule. Let’s dust off and bring ” integrity ” back into our daily vocabulary… especially when we make choices for leadership positions! Who can our children look up to… they desperately need strong moral examples… the new heroes of tomorrow!

Today is my favorite day… Winnie the Pooh

Yesterday I had a craving for pizza… I always get a big one to divvy up the slices among the neighbors… there is the nicest lady who runs the Pizza Hut… and she always has the ” kindest ” signs out… changing them periodically.

( loved reading this)

Every time I get in my ( still ” Mr. Clean”) car… I immediately smile because my Bohemian steering wheel cover of love is based on a Bohemian flower arrangement entitled ” LOVE.” What better way to travel than to be steered by love?

Happy Birthday to my nephew Lee and Mollie’s mother -Marcia! Don’t forget… take time today to have a popcorn party… since it is National Popcorn Day!!! Cards heading your way!

National Popcorn Day!

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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1 Response to It’s a Small, Small World … and Getting Smaller…

  1. Rachel Edwards says:

    Love your steering wheel cover…and the blig entry today….let’s make the world a better place…❤

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