It’s Not Political

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I used to read Highlights Magazine from cover to cover as a kid. I loved the stories, the nature articles, the riddles and, of course, Goofus and Gallant. I was heartened to read the CEO’s plea of humanity in his letter to the public lately. Indeed, we need to separate politics from “human decency”:

“As a company that helps children become their best selves—curious, creative, caring, and confident—we want kids to understand the importance of having moral courage. Moral courage means standing up for what we believe is right, honest, and ethical—even when it is hard.

Our company’s core belief, stated each month in Highlights magazine, is that ‘Children are the world’s most important people.’ This is a belief about ALL children.

With this core belief in our minds and hearts, we denounce the practice of separating immigrant children from their families and urge our government to cease this activity, which is unconscionable and causes irreparable damage to young lives.

This is not a political statement about immigration policy. This is a statement about human decency, plain and simple. This is a plea for recognition that these are not simply the children of strangers for whom others are accountable. This is an appeal to elevate the inalienable right of all children to feel safe and to have the opportunity to become their best selves.

We invite you—regardless of your political leanings—to join us in speaking out against family separation and to call for more humane treatment of immigrant children currently being held in detention facilities. Write, call, or email your government representatives.

Let our children draw strength and inspiration from our collective display of moral courage. They are watching.”

Kent Johnson, CEO

Highlights Magazine

Be a Wild Flower

Photo by Milos Tonchevski

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I have a desert garden in my backyard. A beloved neighbor gave us all of her potted plants when she moved out of state and the plants have thrived. This year, some new wildflowers grew next to the pots. They’re not related to any of the potted plants and they are not being irrigated. Yet, they continue to grow beautifully on the little rain they get.

People can be like wildflowers. They are transplanted from some other place and they just grow. They take advantage of the resources available.  They don’t ask permission. They don’t shrink because the other plants were there first.

They are beautiful in their uniqueness, their peculiarity, and their originality.

We can all be like wildflowers: wild, courageous, strong and proud.

Be like a wildflower. Don’t look for approval or acceptance. Hold your head up high.

 

“Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow”

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Dear struggling summer school student (about to enter 5th grade),

I was your summer school teacher for 3 weeks, 3 hours each day. Today, I said goodbye to you.

I (hope) you learned from me:

  • the value of working hard;
  • the importance of basic skills (math facts);
  • learning can be fun;
  • you are capable of so much more than you think you are, truly.
  • never, ever give up.

 

I learned from you:

  • a few of you are wracked with emotional pain (dad is in jail, parents are divorcing, etc.);
  • you like learning to be fun and you’re quick to learn;
  • you have some amazing teachers at your school (!);
  • “arm” in Spanish is brazo;
  • your lack of sleep might have to do with the violence on your street, late at night;
  • you hope to be the first in your family to go to college.

 

Work hard. Never give up. And you shall make it there.

 

 

Immigrant – Outsider – Newcomer – Foreigner – Alien

 

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You came from a war-torn country

to get a job here
and to start a family
you attended university and held
three jobs
fatigue, stress, discrimination
As the years went by, despite
– the eggs and toilet paper on our house
– the “chinky chinky China” sing-song following me home
– and the ostracization of neighbors and peers
we are so grateful to be American