COLUMN: How can we as individuals help?

Published 9:51 am Friday, October 14, 2022

By Howie Soucek

Your Turn

This was my Facebook posting September 26, 2022: 

Children! — So innocent, so worthy, so wonderful, 

…and with so much potential! 

What a vital, enormous responsibility we adults have 

to  “Train up a child in the way he should go.” 

Isn’t this easy to say, …and to nod our heads to?

Yet in our time, how poorly we are fulfilling this responsibility. 

We all say, “That’s the parent’s job!” 

or, “That’s the school’s job!” 

or, “That’s the government’s job!” 

or, “That’s the church’s job!” 

Thus, in our isolation, inaction, and selfish blaming, 

nothing is achieved. 

The future well-being of our children — 

and indeed that of our entire society  

hinges upon our combining: 

   1) a strong sense of selfless,  personal responsibility and 

   2) a deliberate  coordination of effort  at the community level. 

To continue to fail at this combination is to doom ourselves. 

For decades, we have been neglecting our children, and we are only beginning to pay the price.

A responder, Judy, asked this question:  How do we as individuals help?

And my response to her: Judy, ask community organizations how you can help. If they have nothing to suggest, ask them to develop ways that volunteers can help, and to publish those ideas. Ask that they work with other organizations in the community in ways that will support the holistic education of our children. Talk with teachers and with case workers about what their greatest needs and challenges are and then develop your own ideas as to what you could do and what organizations can do, and present your ideas through the newspaper and at public meetings. …Or in church meetings, discuss the needs and problems of our youths and about possible ways that your church could help, perhaps working with other churches, the school system, the Chamber, a non-profit, et cetera. Ask the school system for its 5-year plan, and read it to see what they plan to do about teacher retention (versus recruitment), student attendance, children’s mental health, student engagement in the community, et cetera. Talk with youths with whom you share mutual trust to get their perspective about the school and learning environment. Volunteer to tutor and/or mentor — or simply to read to a child… This is only a crude start — The primary need is for individuals to feel compassionate about OUR children — and passionate about the future interests of our community and of our society. Then the individual must go into the community to investigate ways to help.

Howie Soucek is a resident of Franklin. Contact him at hownester@charter.net.