Tuesday, March 12, 2019

is that love?

Last week my local Arkansas State Senator proposed a change in Arkansas state law that would have given white folks with guns the right to shoot and kill unarmed black children and teenagers if they "felt" threatened whether they were actually threatened or not.

"He got out his cell phone, your honor, and I thought it might be a gun."

The legislation would have given adrenaline charged white folks the right to "stand their ground." Another State Senator in committee was pushed to the point of outrage, over fear that the change in legislation would put her own son and the children of her constituents in even greater danger.

My local legislator was outraged by his opposing legislator's outrage and threatened to file complaints against her behavior. I emailed him to express my concern at his failure to grasp the depth of the situation and to urge him to put himself in her position. In response, he claimed that she should have been calmed my his verbal assurance that "he loved her."Does anyone have a fully functioning meter to measure BS? My own meter was buried in red.

Love, if it's to be believed is never expressed in words alone. In fact, when a child invests in the making of useful beauty, the child is practicing what it takes to be woven into the fabric of community life. When the parent receives gifts made by that child and responds with grace and admiration, threads are made whole.

Tim Holton had written to David Brooks of the New York Times, urging him to read a couple posts from this blog. Tim was inspired to write David by a piece David had written in the New York Times about weaving and the construction of "radical mutuality". https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/18/opinion/culture-compassion.html We all share in the responsibility to reconstruct the fabric of community life. Tim had written to David(in part):
"The essence of Doug's message here is that the actual fabric that manual labor provides society is no mere metaphor for the social fabric, but the very substance of it. Nothing significant is ever made without the purpose of serving others, without the maker having in mind, and having in his or her heart, the needs of others. That, I believe, is the real root and basis of “radical mutuality,” as you call it. More than anything, it has been by degrading and denigrating manual labor (and steering our children away from it, as Mr Stowe’s work as a teacher emphasizes), that we have shredded the social fabric. Before the thing that we call “love” becomes a feeling, a sentiment, it is a deed."
And so I go back to our local Arkansas State Senator. How can he say "I love" someone without loving her son by protecting his life? How can a person represent the people of Arkansas while putting some of us at greater risk, black or white? Are black kids the only ones killed by adrenaline charged gun wielding fearful fools? I cheer the State Senator who stood up in committee and insisted on being heard.

Yesterday in the wood shop at the Clear Spring School, we nearly finished the bridge connecting our athletic field with the new Hands-on Learning Center. My students first through 4th grades made wooden hammers, and my upper middle school students worked on the lathe. The photo shows a first grader using a plane to shape his hammer handle. They must work, but also observe and reflect. And when one student mentioned the physical work we do in wood shop, she pointed to her head.

Make, fix, and create as though the fabric of society depends upon it. It does.

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