Footprints in the Mud

One morning on the playground a student ran up to me and announced that there were animal tracks in the mud under a tree.  I wandered over to check them out, and sure enough, there was plenty of proof that we’d had a four-legged visitor, or visitors.  My first guess was that it might be a coyote, since I’d recently seen one in our neighborhood easily jump over a 6-ft wall.  When I checked animal track charts, I ruled out a coyote since the prints had five digits, and coyotes only have four.  In all likelihood, our visitor was a raccoon or a skunk.  (When I told the kids this, they quickly voted for the raccoon.)

Interestingly, I’ve been thinking about footprints lately.  In particular, the idea of leaving one’s footprints in their life.  As chance would have it, this week I received my copy of Arizona State’s official magazine, ASU Thrive.  I was delighted to find two of our former Seed parents prominently featured for the footprints they’ve left so far in their extraordinary lives.  The first was author Jewell Parker Rhodes.  Jewell is the Founding Artistic Director and Piper Endowed Chair at the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University.  She now lives in Seattle.  She is the author of numerous best selling books, many of which address social justice themes.  

The other Seed alum parent, Colleen Jennings Roggensack, was the subject of a wonderful article about her work for racial justice through the arts.  The article is a conversation with Colleen that included early influences in her life, a long list of awards she’s received, her insights about the healing power of the arts.  For the past 30 years, she has served as vice president of cultural affairs and executive director of ASU Gammage.  She was appointed by ASU President Michael Crow to co-lead the Advisory Council on African American Affairs.  Among a multitude of other responsibilities, Colleen is Arizona’s only Tony voter.  In the article she mentions that of the many awards in her office, her Mother of the Year award means the most.  I related to this part of her story, because it’s through her daughter I know her best.  Colleen has left many footprints in the world, through her work and as a parent.  She’s someone who keeps me going, aspiring to continue the work on all levels.

When I think of my own footprints, what I hope to leave at the end of my days, I know they will be imprinted in the soil of Awakening Seed.  I hope I will be remembered as someone who helped make the world a better place.  I have noticed this week that as I speak up and write more about social justice, I am also being challenged to do better, to dig deeper.  It feels like the bar is being raised, that as I put myself out there, the expectations will be higher.  I’m not perfect, and I continue to fumble my way through all of this.  I trust our Seed community, especially the staff, and know that with pure intentions and plenty of hard work, we will continue to craft a future where all children will have what they need to flourish.