|sagan taking fiona for a stroll|
A week or so ago I found one of my most favorite books, that I had lent out and never got back, at Bookman's. "High Tide in Tucson" by Barbara Kingsolver. I was re-reading it over the weekend, and still all these years later it still speaks to me. Her essays are timeless, and poignant, and beautifully written. One that has always left me nodding my head and feeling like "YES! someone else sees it too, someone else knows" is her essay "Somebody's Baby". A shorter version of this essay was published in 1992 in the New York Time's under the title: "Everybody's Somebody's Baby". The version in the book is longer and honestly better I think, but still you get the idea. The idea of how here in American we pay alot of lip service to the act of parenting, but in the end that is all we give it... lip service. We don't really truly want to help children or parents. We are not a culture that wants to work together to make a world where parents and children feel welcome. We balk not at just paying taxes but at paying taxes that benefit families and children. We don't want to pay higher taxes for schools, medical care or any program that helps children at all. Give a tax break to a multi-million dollar company that ships jobs over seas... sure! Increase taxes to make sure all children have healthcare... are you freakin' nuts!
She writes it so much better then I can say it. When did we get to this place here? When did money and things become so much more important to us then actual living people? When you get on a bus and you see a mama and her kids on the bus standing up do you offer a seat? Do you move to another seat on a plane to allow a family to sit together? Do you help up someone else's kid if the take a tumble in front of you? And if not... why?
How we treat our children (and I don't just mean the ones we have given birth to or are raising) like they are less, that they do not matter, that they need to be seen, but not heard, or sometimes not even seen... we are sending a message, a lesson. What do we want them to learn? Because they are watching and listening and learning. Barbara said it very well "Be careful what you give children, for sooner or later you are sure to get it back." And what is it that we want to get back? Remember these children we refuse to help, acknowledged, or show compassion for are the very same children who will grow up and become the doctors, lawyers, bakers, shop keepers, thieves, drug dealers, lost souls that will be around tomorrow. We are responsible for all children. All of us. Not to sit on the sidelines bitching about how bad so and so is, but being active in our communities. Being there for them in the voting booth, making sure they all have a full belly, a chance at some sort of education (whether that is at a school or making it so they can be homeschooled), that they can get some kind of healthcare at a reasonable price and that they have a family, not just of blood relatives, but friends and community.