Thursday morning a coyote crossed my path on my morning walk, just as I was listening to a conversation where the participants were sharing quotes that inspire hope. Here’s one of the quotes:
“People say, what is the sense of our small effort? They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time. A pebble cast into a pond causes ripples that spread in all directions. Each one of our thoughts, words and deeds is like that. No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless. There is too much work to do.” ― Dorothy Day
I thought of various things from the week that gave me hope. The first was the celebration of life I attended for my friend, Deborah Cox, whom I wrote about last week. I was deeply impressed by the range of service she offered to her community throughout her life. One line toward the end of her obituary said it all: “Deborah was extraordinary in every way that mattered.” I keep thinking of this line and it gives me hope for the forward trajectory of my own life. All week I’ve felt like Deborah’s passing is a transfer of the torch, so to speak. There are aspects of her work I know I must continue.
I feel hope from our lead teachers who recently met and shared reflections on last year’s professional development work on social justice. It was heartwarming to see and hear how meaningful our previous year’s work was for them, and to witness their level of interest in continuing the work with a renewed sense of dedication. I look forward to collaborating with our entire staff this year to implement a social justice curriculum that will help to grow our entire community.
A story from the same day I saw the coyote amplified my hopeful feelings. Our Toddler 2s teacher told me that one of her little two-year-olds approached her with a classroom baby doll. It happened to be a brown baby with a skin tone similar to her teacher’s. She held out the baby and said, “Baby AJ,” (the teacher’s son), then proceeded to hold the baby to her heart, patting his back. This story took me back to an article we discussed last spring about young children and how they begin to develop awareness of race as young as six months old. Following the discussion, all teachers, including those teaching our youngest Seeds, became even more intentional about including conversations in their classrooms about race, skin color, and celebrating each other’s uniqueness.
One small toddler noticing a baby doll that matched her teacher seems like a small ripple in the pond. Yet I know this work will continue to reverberate through our school, into the community, and through the planet in general, bringing changes in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. It’s certainly a hope I’ll hold on to in the coming days.