Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dealing with (the perception of) defeat

I went to a public meeting with our state senator last night. It was not a happy event. He has his pet issues, and they don't map to mine. His priorities are affordable housing, followed by safety. Those are good things, essential things, and I don't argue with them. I can only assume that other parts of his constituency are struggling enough to survive that they haven't gotten around to my concern, which is education.

None of my kids are currently in public school, but it bothers me that the elementary school across the street has no budget for science for grades K-2. It appalls me that state reps recently considered eliminating funding for middle school libraries. It angers me that our legislators voted in the Common Core Standards (our state can't even meet its own, lower standards) and are now slashing the education budget. They've set the bar higher, and shortened the pole we need to jump over it.

Last night our state senator said that change in education has to begin with parental involvement. That didn't go over well among parents who put on an amazing fundraiser earlier this week, netting $35K for the local school. When I came home, my inbox bubbled and boiled with email from people who were really upset. I was deeply unsettled, myself.

I don't have the time, the energy, the vision, or the hope to launch a major initiative to push for better education. When I'm feeling discouraged, I want to focus inwardly, on what I can change, and avoid the nasty big world where the battles are long and hard. My temptation is to slink away and nurse my wounds, recovering quietly in a safe corner where I can pretend that it'll all be okay eventually.


However, I can't lick my wounds forever. I licked them last night, and again for a while this morning. Then it occurred to me that while I'm busy recovering I can send an email to my senator telling him my thoughts about where he's off base That doesn't take long. It isn't hard. It might help matters, and it might not -- but it's better than nothing. For me, life in general is almost always one little bit better if I do even one little thing about big things that bother me. You, too?


  1. You should read this:

    And yes, it's good to do little things like that.

  2. This helped me so much tonight. Our daughter is fighting cancer, and suddenly I see it everywhere. The battle feels so widespread my own prayers don't feel nearly big enough to touch any of the actual suffering. But you reminded me that I just need to do my part. Just one little prayer - or letter to my senator - at a time.