Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Blessing for All the Gadflies

I've written before about how our local board of education hired a woefully unprepared man with a slim resume to run our public schools in a borough with a high poverty rate and plenty of economic disparity. This has been a rough school year in town. I am grateful to live in a place where scores of people care so much about what is going on in the public schools and understand the principles of democracy so well that they are willing to spend evenings attending board meetings and speaking up. Most do not relish this role. 
Our high school senior (pictured in the photo above just before the walkout of a strategic planning 
meeting), among many others, choses at board meetings and in letters to the newspaper - to speak up about the systematic destabilization of the schools. Monday night he chose to decline to shake the hand of the president of the school board as the man handed him his high school diploma."I just can't," he told him. 

Given the power differential between the two - the board president has power and our 17-year-old son has none - my husband and I felt this was morally necessary and yet was a respectfully quiet gesture. 

Last night, I attended a board meeting and witnessed the superintendent berating my neighbors and that same board president admonishing the audience to act with civility. 

Here is a blessing for all of us who chose the unpopular path, who are willing to lose the respect of some to support the common good of all. We will carry on. Together. 

A Franciscan Benediction
May God bless you with discomfort
At easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships,
So that we may live deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger
At injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people,
So that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.
May God bless you with tears
To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger and war,
So that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain to joy.
And may God bless you with enough foolishness
To believe that you can make a difference in this world,
So that you can do what others claim cannot be done,
To bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.


  1. Beautiful, Allison. & what a beautiful family you have. -- Anne G.

  2. Allison, you are wrong about one thing.....your child has power.....The power to stand up for what he believes in.....the power that you and your husband have given your children is amazing and I hope my children will one day do the same......Your child has the POWER to speak up for what he believes in and that is VERY POWERFUL!!!!!! You and your husband have done well

  3. Amen and amen. Gabe, keep up the good work. May your fine character be contagious. - Carolyn