OLG – Old Lady Gardener #22 Not a gardening post

We have reached mid January and there is already a great deal to think about and the reflect on. We have just passed MLK day with all its past power and my worry that not enough has changed. This day was a hard one to swallow as one more young man was killed on the north side of town over the weekend. Yep he was involved in stuff over his head but death came at the hands of those with guns. Who and why we still do not know. What we know is that a smart bright light is gone.

As a young child he had a glowing smile and was quick with answers to questions. He showed signs of leadership and a gathering of strong friendships. Over the years he checked back in with his early teachers. Home life was crazy but there was a grandmother who stood strong to raise him and his siblings. Somewhere along this road his mentors, it appears, became gang members instead of school teachers and football coaches. I can’t explain that process but it happens all too often.

We as a society can’t seem to understand we are losing so many bright and beautiful lives because we lack the will to turn resources towards those in need. The path out of poverty is rough and full of pot holes that easily side track young people.

I don’t have answers!

(I retired from this daily exhaustion about 10 years ago but still feel it in my heart daily. This kind of sorrow does not go away when our society does not change.)

I watch as teachers, coaches and social workers exhaust themselves trying to make a difference that lasts.

I watch them put their heart and soul into their work.

I watch them fall in love with children and tenderly pass them on to other teachers hoping they will love them as much as they did!

I watch and my heart breaks each time it fails … for students, families, teachers, coaches, social workers – the list goes on.

All I can say is hold your children and students close! All of them! Time is shorter than we think. If there is a small way you can see to help them please help. You never know what small moment might change the path for the young ones in front of you.

About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, care for my Grandson and write. Life is good!
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4 Responses to OLG – Old Lady Gardener #22 Not a gardening post

  1. Anita Ferreri says:

    OMGoodness, your post reflects the despair we all feel as we hear about senseless loss of life and potential of your lives. While I too retired from day to day teaching a few years ago, I continue to work with teachers on the grad school level and their students through coaching and advising. Most weeks, we lose students to dropping out of school or loss of life….every time…it hurts…we really need to find a way to turn our crisis around….

  2. Ramona says:

    A beautifully written post, my friend. And these are very powerful words: “We as a society can’t seem to understand we are losing so many bright and beautiful lives because we lack the will to turn resources towards those in need.” If only we could turn resources to those in need and make a difference. Thanks for encouraging all of us to look for the small ways we can help.

  3. Yes, many of us “old lady gardeners” are noticing and reflecting, trying not to despair, and trying to be small forces for love. I just finished a book i got from a free little library, about counteracting gangs by helping individual kids. It is ‘Tattoos on the Heart’ by Gregory Boyle. In case you’re interested.

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