02 February 2011

It Starts with Us

Can you believe our future lies in the hands of someone 2 feet tall?
Last week I went along with a few others to Horace E. Green daycare, a non-profit center that caters to children of low-income families in Brooklyn. Along with us we took over 200 books that were collected during a children's book drive. We talked with them, we read to them, we gave them books and then we left. But we left something important there: a message to those children and their parents that someone else cares.

As I sat with a group of about 15 kids on a classroom floor, I listened to the compassion in their teacher's voice as he went over the moral lesson in The Little Red Hen. It reminded me of something President Obama touched on in his State of the Union address. He called everyone to take responsibility for instilling educational values in children at an early age. He also brought pride to the title "teacher," regarding them as the most important people in our nation.

I couldn't agree with him more, for what would our world be if we had no one to teach us about it? The moment we leave our parents arms we are left in the hands of a stranger, someone who knows nothing about us but seems to know everything. From these people, these strangers, we gain an appreciation for learning. They're the first to help us turn on that brain vacuum; the one with a life-long battery, but a manual control panel. It starts with them... the missionaries.

We benefit just as much, maybe even more, from the presence of street teachers. Those being the people outside of the classroom that bestow knowledge beyond academics and citizenship: neighbors, dance instructors, coaches, even the ice cream man. From these familiar faces we gain perspective and receive guidance on life and the lessons that come along with it.

With my favorite quote ingrained in my sub-conscience, I remind you that "it takes a village..."
Take the responsibility.

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