Sunday, August 26, 2012
As I prepare for the first day of school, I pray for…
· * the child who was teased last year. God, show me the right lab group to put her in so she can make some good friends.
· * the child who thinks he isn’t a good student. God, let’s remind him learning is a process… that I won’t give up on him… and let’s celebrate everything he’s really, really good at.
· * the child who can’t sit still. God, help me appreciate and guide her energy.
· * the child who is embarrassed because his parents couldn’t afford back to school shopping. God, give me insight so that I can discretely supply what he needs.
· * the child who forgets her locker combination for the eight time… in one day. God, grant me a sense of humor and patience.
· * the angry child who builds a defensive wall to keep from being hurt. God, give me a gentle voice and a smile that says he is loved, welcomed and safe in my classroom.
God, I do believe you have a reason for putting each of your beloved children into my science class. Open my eyes and my heart to recognize the gifts and needs of each of your precious children. Remind me each day that the most important thing is first to teach students… and then to teach science.
Sunday, August 12, 2012
By now we’ve all heard, ad nauseam, of Chick-fil-A’s owner expressing his personal opposition to marriage rights for all people. Do I disagree with his stance? Definitely. Do I wish his company didn’t give money to groups that also oppose equal marriage rights? Absolutely. That’s my right. However, it’s also the right of Chick-fil-A founder and chairman S. Truett Cathy to voice his personal opinion on issues and at least he’s open and honest about how the company’s profits are being spent.
So… what do I do?
There are those who say I should boycott Chick-fil-A… but I never ate there anyway. There are those who say it’s just a chicken sandwich and boycotting would only hurt the hard-working employees.
So… what do I do?
I think the real question I need to ask myself before I start to rail against one particular company is – how committed am I to practicing what I believe is ethical consumerism? For instance, last night I treated Bill to a delicious dinner at Carrabbas. Do I know the political and social stance of OSI Restaurants that owns Carrabbas? No. Did I take the time to look up the company’s investment or donation information before diving into my mezzaluna? No. We ate. I paid. We left.
So… what do I do?
If I want to aim for that place where justice meets consumerism I need to research and pray about how and where I do spend my money.
I think workers’ rights and fair pay is important, so I can choose to shop at fair trade shops. Tenfold Fair Trade in Harper’s Ferry, WV (http://tenfoldfairtrade.com), and Bead for Life out of Boulder, CO (http://www.beadforlife.org), are two of my favorite. Providing a safe, inclusive workplace is very important to me, so I can consult resources such as the HRC Buyers Guide (http://www.hrc.org/apps/buyersguide/index.php#.UCfZQWOe46) prior to shopping. Protecting our environment is a priority for me, so I can find out how “green” a company is before choosing to support them with my purchase.
Being mindful of workers’ rights, fair wages, safe and inclusive workplaces, and care for the environment will definitely add more time to shopping. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. Investing the extra time needed to research and pray before making purchases will cut down on impulse buying and will provide the space to consider whether the desired product or service is a “want” or a “need”.
Practicing just consumerism and not just being a consumer… this is what I’ll do.
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
You remember the drill. As a child you would ask, "May I have a glass of chocolate milk?" only to have an adult respond, “What’s the magic word?” We were constantly reminded of the importance of saying please. “PLEASE may I have a glass of chocolate milk?” The other magic word was thank you. It was expected that if we received the glass of chocolate milk we would say thanks.
As adults have we lost the magic? As adults do we now feel that we are somehow entitled to receiving products and services from others?
Based on my observations during a recent vacation, it might appear so. Countless times I overheard adults at restaurants or shops curtly stating, “I want _______.” or “Give me _______.” Although I’m sure it embarrasses my family, I can’t help but add my two cents by mumbling under my breath, “Please?!”
Is it really so hard to say please?
I have seen adults receive something from another person and not say a word… often not even make eye contact with the person from whom they received it. By contrast, I’ve observed how servers and clerks brighten up whenever an appreciative person says, “Thank you so much!”... smiles, and looks them in the eye to show the words come from a sincere sense of gratitude.
Is it really so hard to say thank you?
We need to remember that those who work hard at providing goods we need or services we require deserve - at the very least - our please and thank you. Let’s not get so wrapped up in a false sense of entitlement that we lose the magic, please. Thank you!
Friday, August 3, 2012
During the Olympics I especially relish learning about the athletes’ personal journeys. Stories of strength, determination and sacrifice. Accounts of obstacles that were overcome. Tales of perseverance when up against seemingly insurmountable odds. This is what makes an Olympic hero!
For the past several years Mark has lived with cancer.
I recall how he faced his initial diagnosis with strength and determination. He thought of the cancer as an irritating inconvenience… something that just needed to be dealt with so he could move on.
In fact, just a year ago – last August – Mark sent out an email sharing the good news that he was in remission. Rather than sit back, he knew it was necessary to persevere… to continue traditional and non-traditional treatments. As he said in that email, he was “committed to doing everything possible to keep those bad little cells at bay.”
In spite of his best efforts, the cancer returned last November. Through it all he maintained a positive outlook and an uncanny sense of humor.
It has been a hard-fought battle and two days ago, accompanied by his family, my much-loved cousin passed away.
I heard someone say the cancer won, but I don’t agree. I believe Mark was the victor! Mark showed the strength, determination, and perseverance of an Olympic hero and he definitely earned a gold medal for living life to its fullest!