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If you’re tired, scared, hungry and wanting freedom, keep going’

Sitting with my three-year-old granddaughter on my lap, cuddling while she contemplates whether she will eat the French toast I made, I relish with joy sharing in her life.  This summer she became a River Rat, loving to play in the St. Lawrence River, where I have roots.  How fortunate I was that she and two of my other three grandchildren, 10 and 12, were able to join me!

For many, grandparenting is at a distance.  I have the joy of having three of four close—all four last year.  What fun to watch them grow and learn.  Wow, they did sprout this year and over the summer, and they learned new words, new concepts, new nuances of life.

Now I watch on FaceBook as several once grandchildless folks, who could not understand my doting, became grandparents and understand.  I watch the photos of them doting, smiling, bragging at every coo and giggle of the new ones.

It’s for my children, grandchildren and for future generations that I continue to work to build healthy relationships among people by sharing stories of people who make a difference because of their faith and values.  I’m also interested in drawing in more to help with writing, editing and other functions of producing The Fig Tree to carry on this unique model of media.

I watch as some media pick up on every contrived squabble and issue that will hurt my life, the lives of my children, their children and future generations.

I worry as I see my grandchildren in school where social studies, civics and history are seen as add-ons, not a core reason for education so we have informed citizens. 

Reading is of course essential so young people can gain access to information on history and won’t be swayed as politicians redefine history to their own benefit. 

Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) help students join the marketplace for some jobs.

All of life, however, is not defined by STEM.  Young people need to know about history, government, leaders, struggles, movements, voices, freedom, equality, justice, faith and hope, as well as the skills for finding and holding jobs.

We need people who are informed on issues, who can think, who can form opinions, who can engage in discussions, who can disagree, who can find ways through disagreements to compromises that are solutions for people living together in a healthy society.

When the focus of any media is primarily to make profits for themselves, they compromise our society, they manipulate people to come back for more and more non-news just to fill owners’ pockets.

There comes a point of saturation, numbness and fatigue with the same-old, same-old stories every day—even though there may seem to be some nuanced twist that grabs attention of the unsuspecting reader, viewer or listener.

This summer, I took my two oldest grandchildren to visit the home of Harriet Tubman in Auburn, NY.  Harriet was the “Moses of her people,” leading hundreds of slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad in the 1850s.

My grandchildren came away with T-shirts that will tell their friends a quote often attributed to her:

If you’re tired, keep going.

If you’re scared, keep going.

If you are hungry, keep going.

If you want to taste freedom, keep going.

Harriet Tubman never gave up.  She spent her life encouraging others to keep fighting for freedom, justice and equality. 

Particularly in an election season, when media quips and manipulations seek to sway minds and hearts, we must remember—as people of faith living in a democratic society, as grandparents and parents, as ancestors of future generations—to keep going, to persevere in the struggle for peace, justice and a healthy society.

Mary Stamp - Editor

Copyright © September 2016 - The Fig Tree