The drama in Thailand with the rescue of 13 boys from a flooded cave is a stark lesson for us as world citizens. As the world waited, over one thousand people from all over the world amassed at the site of the trapped boys and created strategies and logistical efforts to free them. The cooperation, courage, and effort that was required to bring them all safely out of the cave is inspiring and moving.
It is fitting that Thailand would be a world leader in ethical behavior. Almost every young man there spends at least some time as a Buddhist monk, learning the rules and ethical systems of that way of life. In fact, the soccer coach who was with the boys was a monk for 8 years. The monks in Thailand have to learn and follow over 200 rules of behavior and ethics. The fact that families in Thailand value learning ethical thinking to the extent that almost all of them send their young boys to monasteries is a great statement about the importance of values in living.
It is also moving to know that half of the boys were immigrants from Myanmar. In fact, when they were first found, by a British diver, only one of the 13 spoke English: a young immigrant who spoke 4 languages. Some of the boys had been thrust over the border from Myanmar by their parents in hopes that they would have a better life and avoid the danger of where they were living. The coach himself was orphaned and sent to live in a monastery, which explains his eight years of training as a monk
The fact that the coach could teach the boys to meditate so that they remained calm and did not use too much oxygen; that he knew to tell them to drink only the water dripping from the top of the cave, which was rain water and cleaner than the water on the bottom of the cave; that he could provide strong leadership; these qualities are part of what helped the boys survive. It is a great advantage that he had this knowledge.
The divers individually worked their way into the cave and brought out the boys one by one, four hours in and four hours back, under water, climbing over obstacles, squeezing through narrow passages. They taught the boys to breathe using the oxygen tanks. Then each diver carried his own tank and the tank for one boy and led the boy to safety. These divers were from all over the world, not just from Thailand. One diver lost his life in this effort.
The miracle of rescuing these 13 boys out of a flooded cave, in a journey that took close to four hours each way, and involved over one thousand people from all over the world, is a stark lesson in the necessity of community. We cannot succeed in our lives alone, no matter how many resources we have. We need the many other people in the community and in the world who are working and growing and developing qualities and skills in order to function together. Our world has become completely interdependent. We have problems to solve and a future to build. This can only happen when we understand that we are all, all of us, in it together.