Ancient kings and today’s powerful people often build big buildings so they and others might know their greatness. Big temples, big castles, big houses, big skyscrapers. Just like the kings who built these temples in Burma, modern "kings" compete with each other about who can build the biggest, the most beautiful, the most expensive whatever. Perhaps they hope to be remembered after they’re long gone.

We seldom remember truly great people for “outside” things though. It's the inside things that matter. So, if you want to be truly great, build a temple in your heart where the Spirit can reside. From that place, amazing and beautiful things will emerge.

     -The Godmother
Cambodia's magnificent temples: The ancient temples from the Angkorian era in Cambodia are an immeasurable source of pride for Cambodians (and an odd place for tourists to take photos in the buff). The crown jewel, Angkor Wat, is on the flag; it's in the national anthem; it's on the t-shirts; it's in the hearts and minds of Cambodians when something dark, something shameful about their nation arises. "But we have Angkor!" they remember.

One semester--and only one--a student raised the issue that perhaps Angkor isn't something to be so proud of. "Think of all the backs that broke to make those temples." This comment simply didn't compute. Cambodians need Angkor. After endless wars, self-inflicted carnage, and decades of systemic corruption, Cambodians need Angkor perhaps more now than in the 900 years since it was built.
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Did you miss a previous Godmother's Advice email? 
  • #001: Khmer boxing & solving problems
  • #002: Workers' commute & "making room"
  • #003: Bright balloons & dangerous attractions
  • #004: Bats and others' ways
  • #005: Playing in the mud
  • #006: Tattoos and bad habits
  • #007: Make-believe
  • #008: Dental and other care
  • #009: Boat races and collaboration
  • #010: Loads carried
  • #011: Nothing beyond repair
  • #012: Solid bricks
  • #013: Toilet left standing
 
  • #014: Flying a kite
  • #015: Everyone is held
  • #016: Dry fish in the sun
  • #017: Little children
  • #018: Worth looking for
  • #019: Two-way windows
  • #020: Heroes emerge
  • #021: A wide net cast
  • #022: Take what you need
  • #023: Make your own fun
  • #024: See what the sun smiles on
  • #025: Fly high
  • #026: Open the treasure chest
Background about this email: Several years ago, I was feeling like an inadequate Godmother due to my absence in the US and, consequently, my absence in my Godsons' lives. I decided to send what little advice I have as someone who has been in the world for 30 years longer than they. Thus was born my Godmother's emails--a tidbit of advice each week. I decided to share these emails with friends and others because I feel that  folks need some good, helpful or happy things in their Inbox these days. I hope these Godmother's advice emails are good, helpful or happy for you; otherwise, unsubscribe below.
This email and my work in Cambodia is made possible by the Maryknoll Lay Missioners program through which I serve. To support me, use this secure online form. If you are outside the US, you can donate through PayPal.com (specify "maria_montello@yahoo.com" as the recipient).
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