Tuesday and Thursday of this week we had parent teacher conferences, so today is our comp day for the extra hours works. In the past, I’ve spent time in my wife’s classroom volunteering and seeing the names that she brings home with her! This year, with Covid still around, they are not allowing volunteers in the school, so that shot one plan for the day.
So, I made a list. We saved some money for our trip a couple of weekends ago, so I needed to get that deposited. A trip to the landfill has been long overdue, so that’s on the docket (at this time of writing, it’s done), along with a trip to the local book store, an artisy store (anniversary is coming up), along with a little thrift shopping too. I’m finding that my own executive functioning needs this kind of organizations. We’ve been doing some PD lately, working with how to help our kids get better with their own functioning, but I’ve seem ME in many of the “tough kid” scenarios. “Kid avoids tasks, feels guilty about avoiding tasks, avoids it even more, gets really far behind, curls up in the ball…..”
I know, right! Anyway, I’ve worked more with making lists, and right now, I’m about half way done. I’m eating lunch (shrimp tacos and a small mocha) in this little coffee shop, feeling good about the list part of things. However, my other thoughts, not so good. Yesterday, our governor signed (with glee and cheering) a law that bans transgender athletes from participating in the sport of their chosen sex. Now, I know people have very strong feeling about this topic, but to me, it’s a solution, looking for a problem. The number of transgender athletes participating in Iowa is, at most, in the teens. I just don’t see the need to put discrimination into law. Beyond the obvious discrimination, another issue I have is the optics of this law. She made a BIG deal of the signing, surrounding herself with white, blonde girls, white legislators, and little girls who truly had no idea why they were there, and legislators who have made incredibly inappropriate comments in open session. As she finished she clapped loudly, cheering as if this law was the cure for cancer. Is this what Iowa has become, a photo op to score political points for the national audience? It reminded me of the law banning masks that was passed, same kind of scene, she’s surrounded by anti-maskers, legislators who’ve made ignorant statements, and children used solely as props.
I tweeted about this, and I had many people like and retweet my statement, but there was this undercurrent of angry, ugly, hateful attitudes. It made me angry at first, but then, sad. Sad that I as a teacher would be mocked for caring about all my students. Sad for the state I grew up in, that my daughters grew up in, and the turn that it’s taking right now. And I’m sad for all those students who are questioning so much right now about themselves, seeing that display and thinking about where they possibly can find belonging.
Iowa is dying. We getting older and more grey. The only reason we are where we are at right now is because of an influx of immigrants. Without that flow of younger citizens, I’m not sure where we’d be. As we continue to pass regressive legislation, underfund our schools, cut taxes again and again (with no thought of how services will be paid for) and pander to donors and the national stage, Iowans suffer. It won’t make Iowa more attractive to young families. It won’t make Iowa attractive to businesses, and it only reinforces that stereotype of Iowans being backwards and backwoods.
We aren’t either of those! Iowans are hard working, smart, and only want the best for their families and a place they can be proud of. We want our kids to understand the world around them isn’t just them but a whole wealth of people and place and experiences!
Now, I don’t expect much to come from this blog. This is just coffee shop Darin, enjoying his day off, being reflective. All I ask if you do decide to comment, be respectful. I call out my sixth graders ALL THE TIME for saying rude things when politics comes up. This is one of the reasons we are where we are right now, we feel that freedom to say what we want without thinking about the consequences of our actions. While you may not agree (and on a topic like this, I’m sure many will), it’s no reason to be rude.
Because honestly, our kids are watching and learning from our actions.
And they see it.
This one got kind of deep and if you made it this far, thank you. Your readership means a lot to me!