My sisters, my friends. The last paragraph of my last post came to me as I tried to muster some form of comfort to speak to my baby sister, who is a few years my junior, but missed a lot of the good stuff we came up with. Sadly, her time has been wrought with school shootings and madness and excuses for justice from the start. Where we think of these crazy times as an exception, to the younger of us, these have been the rule. That is a shameful and very sad thought. One I can elaborate on in another post, another day. Today, I want to answer the worried mom in today’s political climate.
A New Lesson Plan
I think about my kids like you think about your kids. I’ve wondered the very same thing. Here is how those thoughts go. Now that we’re here, I think we have to teach the children. Teach them the importance of reading, writing, reasoning, respect and the value of their voice.
1) Readers are leaders. Through books, we learn the basics, and once we’re done with basic training, they make the difference between the uneducated and the educated. They are the way to a degree, to enlightenment, to enrichment, and connect us to experiences beyond what we’re exposed to in our daily lives. To quote the new Mandalorian series, “This is the way”. The inspiration, the support, the company I can’t find in person, I find through reading. It expands our minds and our worlds and that’s so important if we live in small towns.
2) Writing, personally, frees me. It’s my way out. Once we learn to think on our own, we should speak it. If we cannot speak it, (case in point), we should write it and share it. This form of expression has immortalized the greatest thinkers, the ones that keep me company day and night. Writing makes the world go ’round. Politicians need someone to write their speeches that reach millions. Shows need writers to make their stories. Books need writers. Music needs lyrics. Someone writes the marketing we see everyday. Putting our thoughts into words is undervalued and it helps our communication. And communication helps our relationships. And relationships make up our lives.
3) Teach them that reasoning is an important skill. Observing the facts and drawing our own conclusions, so we don’t buy into whatever they’re trying to sell us. Doubters, haters, liars, users, wicked folk, politicians, infomercials… This critical thinking could save our country, and we should teach it religiously to the next generation because they’re going to need it.
4) For heaven’s sake, teach them the importance of voting. We have to at least show up. How many people have died in the process of just fighting for the ability to vote? How many people were denied the right, the basic representation? How many years of oppression did women and minorities suffer in a system not built for us? Tell them that government is not just something to complain about, and it’s not just something to keep us small. Teach them that government is about all people and it affects us, and so we should be a part of it. We can’t just submit to it, or just resist it, if we can’t be a part of how it’s made up. If the rules we live by don’t fairly represent us, we will need someone to change them; and that will take a lifetime. This country needs saving and America will need not more soldiers, but commanders and legislators and senators and representatives. Change is an inside job.
5) Tell them that we are here and we are worthy and we are not to be ignored, mistreated, and overlooked. Tell them not to take “no” for an answer. Tell them about justice, peace, love, unity, and respect. Tell them that they deserve these things, and so does everyone else. Show them the real-time consequences that we have seen come to pass if people don’t treat each other in this manner. The communities that are ripped apart, the country that is divided, all the people that it’s hurting. If we don’t prioritize these things, we risk real life danger. Tell them to look around and imagine the difference it would make. And then, imagine they could be that difference.
If you are like me, when you brought them to this world, you had great aspirations that they would make it a better place, and that their experiences would make them better people. Tell them it will take patience and persistence. But the fight is worth it, because they are worth it. When the road looks long, just take baby steps.