so yesterday on the way to MOPS Bryson saw a shopping cart full of a homeless person's things. he asked me what a shopping cart was doing there with that stuff in it....which led to a very engaging discussion of homelessness with a 4 year old.
part of why i love living where we live is because there is such a need here - a need for charity and hope and the city is really striving to meet those needs. i love getting to know the people in power here - the people that sit on boards to try the hard way to make a difference - the people who write the grants to get the money to make a difference - the people who attend city council meetings to impact the way the city does things - the people who attend beach clean ups all the time, the people who organize events like the beach clean up, the community here is active folks, and truly making something of this town. i love the sense of community here and what people do to pitch in when tyranny steps up. i am thinking of an example most recently of a kooky Baptist (super funamentalist) church that came specifically to Long Beach to preach their hatred of homosexuals and Jews. i think they hated black people too...not sure. but they got ran out of town, literally - not by crazy gangsters or violence, but mainly by a group of Wilson High School students who peacefully held up signs next to their signs that read things like, "God hates figs" and "God loves toast" and more wonderfully random things as well as pointing out quite peacefully how silly they all seem in a city that boasts of its diversity and loves each other for it...on most days.
so my conversation with Bryson about homelessness went something like this:
"Why is that lady talking to herself"
"Because Bryson a lot of times people who dont have homes also have a sickness in their brain and sometimes that sickness makes them talk to themselves."
"why is she holding cardboard?"
"Because she is sick she can't work like mommy or daddy and so she asks other people for money and food. that is what her sign says"
i also explained to him that this is why mommy goes to all her meetings...to try to help people like that lady.
its not a simple conversation, but its a conversation. i am always plagued with questions about how early to expose children to things - how early to start on social awareness - at what level should a child be involved and know where to begin to carve out their space in community and begin to be impacting. i would typically bring Bryson along to my events with the Jr League - he helped put the garden in at the PATH house in Long Beach - he has been to the Villages at Cabrillo probably more than a dozen times, but never realized the kids he played soccer with are homeless. i just didnt know how early to start this conversation. i think preserving innocence is part of my job as a mama...but where is the line between innocence and ignorance? this brings me to the speaker i heard last night.
last night i had a Jr. League meeting and sometimes during our general meetings we have guest speakers - not always, but they are usually pretty good. i think the speaker last night was pretty positive and deserved a shout out. we heard from Matthew Emerzian of Every Monday Matters. he has kind of a cool story - he was a very successful music manager working under Robert Kardashian and after a few panic attacks and a visit to a very wise therapist who gave him a book called "Its not about you" he had a change of career and set off to write a book and start a campaign to make a difference every Monday.
his book is Every Monday Matters and it is 52 ways to make a difference. some of the days are very active - like to volunteer somewhere, or pick up trash that isn't yours. some mondays are inward changes - like meditate or be active today, but every Monday is a chance to make an active difference. They are working on curriculum for schools, prisons and corporations to include this concept in a practical hands-on way.
i ordered the book and i think it is a great way to incorporate social awareness with kids in a practical way. sometimes we need a guide...this is a great way to get started. if anyone wants to do this along with us - awesome! we can start a little monday matters group of our own!
once i get the book and depending on how much i need to tailor it to fit our family, i want to start a series here on my little space every monday with perhaps a challenge from the book and maybe pics from how we have made Mondays matter. i would love to share in this with a group of people - let me know if you are interested and get the book! here (or here for way cheap)!