When You Don’t Know What to Say or Do, Think

I prescribe to the notion of when you don’t know what to say, keep quiet. So, for the past two weeks, like the scriptures, I’ve been pondering things in my heart—wildfires, climate change, flooding and devastation in Kentucky, Monkeypox, COVID, FBI raids and rumors of civil war, politics, teacher shortages, subpoenas, world hunger, — and discerning what to say.

Though I am rarely at a loss for words, today I’m more sad than speechless as I try to wrap my mind around the state of our world. On the evening news they warn you about the graphic nature of the photos of starving children but there seems to be very little explanation of how to stem this horror.

The bombed-out buildings in Ukraine and the hopelessness written across the faces of the displaced children and their families hasn’t inspire an end to the devastation and destruction that continues to destroy the region.

Closer to home, last week I was at the mall and the woman who was handling my return said she was a teacher. It was the first day of school, so I asked how her day had been. She complained about being tired already as she worked this second job–then she went on and on about how bad the children were.

She was 60, but I strongly encouraged her to consider retirement and to find a job she could love. I know this doesn’t help the teacher shortage, but the children have so many strikes against them before they ever board a bus or darken a classroom door—they need her best efforts and energy.

She was unconvinced but teachers are some of the most amazing people in the world and they deserve our admiration, respect, and enhanced pay. Period. The folks who do the funding—county commissions, school boards—we, the public, must insist that these professionals are paid commensurate with the importance of their work. Shaping young minds is challenging but inspired work and every child deserves a committed parent and a well-trained teacher whose only goal is to create a student who is prepared to succeed.

My sister-in-law, a retired first grade teacher, passed away last month and her students came by the dozens to share her impact. She was amazing —she came early, stayed late, and made sure every child could read. She said it was a calling, and for 38 years, she answered the call. I believe the world is better because of her efforts.   I am blessed that three of my favorite teachers are still alive so I can gently remind them how much they mean. You know what comes next—call or send yours a note and brighten their day.

Finally, I’ve never met Dick and Lynn Cheney, but they ought to be proud of their daughter, Congresswoman Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, who put doing what’s right over getting re-elected. You instill values in your children and hope they stand tall when it’s time and make good choices when it matters.  I’m not Representative Cheney’s parents, but when she chose to stand up for right and democracy, she earned my admiration. She took the high road and lost the election, but she gained something more important—self-respect.

Like a bunch of other folks, I need to stop turning issues over in my head and put some energy behind solutions. If we look at the facts—things that can be proved or disproved with data and research—and make up our own minds about what is appropriate, fair, and just, I suspect all of us will know what to say and do. May we be blessed in our peacemaking efforts.

Looking for inspiration, empowerment, uplift, straight talk, an encouraging word to brighten your day? You’ve arrived! Meet Dr. Cynthia Ann Bond Hopson, best-selling author, educator, inspirational speaker, sistergirl–she’s all that and more. Now listen to her new podcast, “Three Stores, Two Cotton Gins, One Remarkable Life: The Journey from There To Here,” and meet her favorite family and friends as they share laughter and heartwarming life lessons. Look for it on this page or wherever you get your favorite podcasts.

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