Sitting on a park bench …

Spring, has begun to show her face here in Michigan, after a prolonged visit from old man winter. The snow has melted off the ball fields and the park paths are finally drying out.  Today, I took my five year old twins to t-ball practice in a near by park. As I sat on the park bench watching my children learn and quickly forget the finer points of fielding and hitting. I noticed that I was sitting surrounded by garbage. As my eyes surveyed the area where the adults were seated. Waste lay all around where we were sitting.  It seemed that garbage was all over the park, especially along the paths.

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Since I was just sitting watching my children at practice, I figured, WHY not help clean up the park? I started picking up trash. Carrying handfuls to the can nearby. As I deposited my first load, I noticed that the density of deposited trash has higher the closer to the can. Must have been plenty of near misses. As I picked up the random pieces of trash. A few parents gave me odd looks. A guy on the basketball court near by thanked me for throwing away his empty water bottle he left beside the path. I was hoping to lead some of the sedentary parents into an impromptu cleaning crew. Similarly to how this guy becomes a dance leader:

No such luck. Just a few odd looks. I forced my older son to help out, but no second follower was to be found. It made me sad. Park users gave looks as if it wasn’t their job to keep it clean.

This is similar to education. People see the needs of our students, but say, “Not my JOB!!” , or “IT is the schools’ and teachers’ job to education our students!” Educating the youth of the world is similar to taking care of the planet. THOSE that encounter opportunities to make a difference MUST tke action and make a difference. We can’t expect others to complete the job. They might not see the need. They might be too overwhelmed with other tasks to take care of the needs we see.

Similar attitudes exist all over society. I see it in my students when I ask them to help clean up. “I didn’t make the mess,” is quickly uttered out of their mouths. “I didn’t say you did, I just need your help cleaning,” is my reply. Society needs to work together and solve problems, not rely on someones title and job description to do so. When action is needed, Action MUST happen.

IF anything should be required curriculum in our schools, positive action of helping others has to top the list. So if you encounter me (or another) out doing good by clean up a park or helping others please be a second follower.

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