If You Think Nothing Can Change, It Probably Will

This is a critical time for Philadelphia’s public schools. The Friends of J.S. Jenks knows it cannot solve all the challenges facing our school and the school district. However, we believe that our community wants to do more than collective sighing and handwringing. When empowered with opportunity, we believe our community can and will come together to support this gem of a school and its students.

via A new effort to increase support for J.S. Jenks | | Chestnut Hill Local Philadelphia PAChestnut Hill Local Philadelphia PA.

There was a time when I was younger when I thought every problem was solvable simply by getting your lasso around the right moon. Today, I know that’s not true. Every problem is still solvable, true, but the moons have nothing to do with it. It takes hard work, and a group of people who want to see the problem get solved.

But, of course, the big problem of life is that no one can ever seem to agree about what the problems are in the first place. That’s where politics comes in.

Politics is a way of letting groups make decisions that individuals would never make by themselves. Sometimes that’s good, and sometimes it’s bad. In the case of education of our little elementary school kids, I’d say that the working out about whether those decisions are good or bad is pretty important. After all, these kids are our future, no?

It’s been a long time since someone from “my circle” has shown “activist tendencies” – most people tend to just “go with the flow” which means nothing much changes. Many people like to complain instead of to build something new. A few shining exceptions to this exist, among my friends and family. But mostly – it is probably this way for you as well – the people I know ride the escalator of life, not wondering whether those stairs over there might be able to take them someplace more appealing.

This weekend, I’ll be joining a few family members down in the Philly area. This isn’t activism, but it’s an attempt to make some improvements and changes to the way something is getting done in a public education system. Specifically, they are looking to raise some money toward the support of some arts programs.

The quote at the head of this post – with its stark idealism – reminded me of my younger days when I was throwing my lasso at every moon that went past. Words like that are inspirational, they remind us that there might just be someplace else we’d rather be. Of course, the downside of saying inspirational words is that you end up making some people feel uncomfortable. Some people don’t want things to change, and they look at you suspiciously if you say that you do. That’s the downside of politics. In the beginning, politics was a great idea, a way of moving things forward, collectively. Too often it turns to mere divisiveness.

But we can all build bridges across that divisiveness, if we want. 🙂

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