#MeFirst

I was having a wonderful political conversation with someone who held very similar beliefs as I do… she was smart, thoughtful and extremely liberal.  Frustration with friends was only tolerable because she said that, really, we all want the same thing.  I disagree.

I, and those who are leaning to the left want what is good for society.  I want what is good for the poor, the sick, the unemployed, the mentally ill, the elderly, the immigrants, the refugees, the minorities, the children, the homeless, the environment, the LGBTQ community, the women, and the world…  The other side?  They want what is best for themselves, for their pocket book, for their business, for their rights, and for their families…  they want what they want and damn anyone who gets in their way… those intelligent, thoughtful, perhaps religious people are all about one thing, we are not even close.  Let’s just call it what it is, selfish.  #mefirst

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Mrs. Whitworth is ALWAYS Right

Have you heard?  Mrs. Whitworth is ALWAYS right….  I overhead this said by several of my students to a new classmate who was questioning how things were done in Room One.  They were defending the Room One way, and their teacher, to someone who didn’t quite grasp the obvious.  I try my best to be fair, consistent, and loving in my classroom.  Sometimes I think this is lost on many of my children… but maybe not. When it comes to having my back, my room full of 6 and 7 year olds will willingly let an outsider know what’s what.  It was the best moment of my day.  That, and having one of my struggling readers raise his hand to read aloud to the class AND listening to him read successfully… Yes, there was joy in Room One today.

Oh, and did I mention, Mrs. Whitworth is always right?

Fourteen, So Far

Here we are at the beginning of February and there have been 14 school shootings in 2018… so far.  We don’t hear about most of them because most of them have not ended in a fatality, but they all involved a gun being fired at a school or on a school campus.  You can be certain that across our country guns have been brought to school and been discovered, before they were fired, many many times…

As a society. we all agree that no child should be in danger of being shot anywhere in our country but especially in our schools.  We can all agree that no child should bring a gun to school and we wring our hands at each announcement of tragedy befallen our most innocent.

I’m sorry, but if YOU own a gun and it is not locked up in a way that only you have access to it, YOU are contributing to our national problem.  It could potentially end up in the hands of a criminal, an addict, a child.  It could be used in a crime, a suicide, a school shooting.  Just by owning a gun, you are saying that you don’t get it.  You are saying that your rights are more important than the lives of innocent children.  Sorry, but you are part of the problem. If we didn’t have guns in our homes children would have a much more difficult time getting their hands on guns, it might not be impossible, but it would be much more difficult.  Shouldn’t we make it as difficult as possible for a child to get a gun?

Am I saying that I don’t support the 2nd Amendment? Yes, I am.  I care more about victims of tragedy than about people having to own guns, it is not a hard choice for me.  If I had a magic wand and could eliminate guns across our country, leaving them only in the hands of the police and military, I would do it.

There have been 14 school shootings this year…. so far.  It is only February 6th.

Thanks For Choosing Roseburg

I went for a run the other day and passed this lovely family (twice) as I circled Stewart Park… it was a beautiful day and as I waved for the second time, with both hands and a big smile, they all smiled and waved back, almost laughing at my cheerfulness.

They were a family of color, probably with relatives who originated somewhere very far away and I am grateful that they chose to make Roseburg their home.  Why?  Because they give me hope that our community will learn acceptance, love, tolerance and grow into a place where we are all more safe, where we all value education, libraries, and our environment.

Some of my most cherished friends and family, immigrants, have moved away to places more progressive… friends from Mexico, Ireland, Brazil… while others from, Japan, Australia, Israel, England, have chosen to stay. Our community is enriched by people who bring with them culture and ideas that are different from ours, we are not diminished, we are uplifted.

Our car was broken into the other night, by some guy, probably on drugs, who had no sense of respect for others.  WE are doing something wrong as a society when we vilify people who are trying to make a better life for themselves and their families by working hard and getting an education, when our own children are loosing themselves to drugs, video games, violence, and crime.  Hurling hateful rhetoric on-line, out car windows, and in classrooms, is spurred by the man who sits in our highest office, himself hurling hateful rhetoric… a twisting of the first amendment… free speech does not mean that you HAVE to be hateful or unkind… just because you CAN be does not mean that it is right. Being hateful is a choice.

Teaching children to love learning, value education and respect others begins at home. I know that our town is full of families who do just that.  So I am glad they will be joined by new families coming to live the American dream.  They are not takers, they are contributors, they are business owners, they are hard workers and I welcome them, smiling and waving as I run by.

I hope that our small community is overrun by people of color, by immigrants, by people who may not attend the popular church or any church… diversity is our path to a better society.  So, thank you for choosing Roseburg  …  we need you.

Happy New Year ~ Looking Ahead

What did you do with your year? Sometimes surviving the year is enough.  So much loss and tragedy across our country, but if you were lucky enough to make it to this point without personally being touched by loss, illness, or financial troubles, then you are fortunate and perhaps you have spent your year making changes in the lives of the people around you.

Wishes of health, happiness, and peace in the new year are repeated in various forms across all social media.  I hope that these sentiments come true and that we all have a healthy and happy 2018.  I know that many things are out of our control, but years ago someone told me that we shouldn’t say ‘have a great day’, we should say ‘make it a great day’.  I think about this idea often.  Much of our happiness depends on our outlook on life.

So, for 2018, I hope you walk on the sunny side of the street, make things happen, be involved, find the silver lining, smile, move your body, be kind, make healthy choices, meet adversity with optimism and hope, and always ‘Look for the joy’!

Peace

Purpose

As our year comes closer to an end I hope that you have felt that your year has had purpose.  If nothing else, this new administration has given rise to the voices of many who once sat by silently letting their government officials do whatever it is they do.  If you are reading this, perhaps you are one of those voices who has joined the chorus of outraged patriots who are watching our country slide down a slippery slope of hatred, greed, bigotry, and violence.

3.2 trillion dollars of tax cuts will have a huge impact on our country.  It will be interesting to see the ramifications of this change.  We won’t know for a while… money for government programs that people need will be at risk.  Stay alert to small changes in the coming years… will you need to push back your retirement date, pay more for your health insurance? Who knows how this will affect our lives in the future.

Although our country is being led by a buffoon, our outrage is what will save us.  It is our obligation to fight for peace, love, joy, compassion, and taking care of not only our fellow citizens, but ALL people of this country and the world.

Your purpose, to this end, can be manifested every day.  Thinking critically about what you say and do, how you treat your family, friends and those who are not your friends, what you post and how you comment… what is your purpose? Are you making this world better with your actions, are you improving the lives of the people around you, are you helping rather than hurting? Are you walking through this world consciously with thought of your actions and comments?  Each day you have a choice to raise your voice against stupidity, hatred, and greed.  Each day you have a choice to raise your voice for kindness, mindfulness, love and peace.

You have a purpose, choose wisely…

That’s Why They Pay Me The Big Bucks

I sat on the floor in the hallway.  An upset child sat with me.  He was not in trouble but had used the word ‘penis’ when talking about where the ball had hit him.  His friend, who he now hated, came to tell me that this sweet little guy was using inappropriate language.  Quickly I told him that the word ‘penis’ was not an inappropriate word, it was the name of part of your body.  There was nothing wrong with that word or that part of the body.

How do we explain that not all families like to use that word?  I tried my best.  ‘That word is something that doctors might use, or that some families use, or ….., hmmmm, it is a word that makes some people worried’… The boy fired back, ‘It is a normal word!’ Yes, it is, but not all families like to use it.  “Like the ‘H’ word?” Yes.

We got through the moment… I told him, “If you are worried about something it is okay to come to me, I won’t be mad and it doesn’t mean that someone will be in trouble. It’s my job, that’s why they pay me the big bucks.”

‘They pay you a lot of money for this?’….’Well, not a lot, but enough so that I can buy good food to eat. Okay?’ Okay….

Oh, my….