Monday, January 18, 2010

Where do we go from here?

I sat down at the laptop tonight completely overwhelmed by negativity.  (Whew, that's a way to keep y'all reading, right?)

My mind was spinning: the first email I read tonight was about a family friend who lies in a coma in a hospital in Rome.  She truly had La Dolce Vita there in Italy - three small kids, a husband who flies around the world for KLM, a beautiful jewelry business.  Then, one strep infection = bacterial meningitis = total profound coma, from which it is highly unlikely she will emerge.

I was fresh from my parents' house, reading the Washington Post and seeing this horrific picture from Haiti for the first time:

And then of course today is the Martin Luther King Jr holiday.  A day when many of us look around and ask if we are living his dream - if we are even trying to work towards it anymore?  I know that I had more than a few twinges of self-recrimination when I spent the day ferrying to and from playdates instead of making it a day of service.

I even asked my husband out loud:  so just where I am supposed to go from today?

Here's my answer for you, for today.  We go to the people teaching the adults of tomorrow.

My friend Susie is one of the world's funniest, deepest, and most lovely people you will ever meet.  She is also a kindergarten and first grade teacher.  She is exactly the sort of person you want spending the day with your six year old:  the sort of person who will take the kids outside to lie on the ground and look at clouds, and who will talk about connectedness and personal responsibility with total respect for the kids' ability to get it.

Today on Facebook Susie posted this quote from Dr King: Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.

Here is a picture of Susie's class talking about this:

Susie's explanation: ...we do an activity that illustrates the concept of interconnectedness. One student holds one end of a string and then it gets passed from one student to another (randomly). Everyone has to hold on to their part of the string or it affects the whole. I think it's a great little object lesson, and such a beautiful concept. We may not choose to care for those around us, but we are still connected- that is the reality of our existence!

And here is her explanation of how this all connects with Dr King's quote: I love [his] quote because of the philosophy that seems to be driving it- it's not just 'I'm responsible for me and you're responsible for you'. It goes beyond that and says, 'Yes, I'm responsible for me, but my choices and actions affect you, so in that way I'm also responsible for you too!!' You can never be truly whole if you're focusing on just part of that equation.

I love that she is teaching the kids who will be shaping our nation in years to come.   Once they have taken this truth to heart, if more of us could own our responsibility to our community - both immediate and extended, our world would most definitely be so much closer to his dream.

Mrs Eastwood, please know that today you showed me where we go from here.


Cheryl said...

Oh, Kirsten, so sorry to hear about your family friend. How tragic.
As for that teacher - LOVE her! What a great, creative lesson!!

Harold of Scaggsville said...

An important lesson indeed. I wish more people would "get" this instead of just writing it off and branding it as "socialism". Every man for himself and survival of the fittest does not make for good society.

Julia @ Hooked on Houses said...

What a beautiful post!

So sad to hear about your family friend. That's really tragic. It's hard to understand why terrible things like that have to happen.

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