Likewise, I do grow weary of the rhetoric that forces us to take a side, to stand here, to select ONE. If only life were that simple. And if I have a difficult time selecting one on an airline survey, how am I to SELECT ONE in real life. Oh, I know, I select good over evil and love over hate. But sometimes the choices are to that clear. In the past week, some have wanted us to align ourselves almost along battle lines. Some of those calls came from leaders, one of them our Texas lieutenant governor who called those at the Dallas shooting cowards for the fact that they fled and let the police take care of them. Such vitriol, especially from our leaders (and our Lt. Gov was not the only culprit. Looking at you Joe Walsh and you, too, Giulani), is confusing for me as an adult. I can only imagine how it is for our kids.
But then I remember that books can help. WHEN WE WAS FIERCE, ALL AMERICAN BOYS, and so many other titles can help our kids explore the emotions tied up in their lives. So when I see a call to fire a librarian for her audacity to offer kids books that make them think, when I see yet another title thrown onto the bonfire of the censors, when I see my fellow professionals shy away from books lest they be controversial, my fear grows. Without books to shine a light on the issues we face, how can we find our way? How can we challenge the rhetoric that would make us take one side? How can we measure ourselves and our values against others?
I am writing this on the day before nErDCAMPMI gets underway. It is there, once again, that I will find the renewed hope that keeps me moving forward each day, each month, each year. For there will be educations and authors and kids all brought together for the purpose of learning from one another. We will find new books, new voices, new ways of communicating with one another.
Those who seek to separate us might never challenge themselves in this way. Fortunately, there are so many more educators and authors and kids who will refuse to SELECT ONE.