How could someone work in a yucky old crumbly building with beat up books and no air conditioning watching child after hopeless child – some of them children of the children you taught not so long ago – slip through your hands and have any sense of satisfaction from catching just one before they fall through the (almost inevitable) cracks? People do it. They insist that “it was all worth it” because they changed the life of one child. I could not fathom how this was true. I did not believe it.
I believe it now, because I’ve done it.
It’s done by not looking at numbers and statistics, or reports, or what Big Dogs want. Changing the course of one life in the Grand Scheme; the Big Picture; Master Plan – that is success. Those teachers were wise enough to recognize it. And finally, I have recognized it too.
I started Big Binder with a deliberate purpose. This city, this place that I live, has so much to offer. “It’s a wonderful place to raise children”. There are nice parks, and a zoo, and a children’s museum, and an award winning sculpture park with a children’s garden. There is a beautiful art museum, and an excellent children’s hospital.
And there is poverty, and hunger, and need. And there is obesity, and illiteracy, and fear of the unknown.
If I have encouraged one person to take their child to a Pow Wow, or a foreign restaurant, or to a kid’s race, I have succeeded. If I have broken down a barrier of fear for one momma who took her kid to a community event that hasn’t been ‘sanitized’ by removing anything boring or uncomfortable, I have succeeded . If just one person donated time or money to our community because of something I wrote, I have succeeded. Or if I have told one person about how they can get health insurance, or food for their child, I have succeeded.
I am a serious person who doesn’t take myself too seriously, and that is reflected in my writing. I think hard about the issues around me, and I know that my brain is naturally community oriented and resourceful. I firmly believe (there is no arguing with me on this one) that we all have our own gifts and talents, and that we are called to share them. That is mine. I help people make connections without being a big, heavy hammer of guilt because the truth is; there isn’t anything to feel guilty about.
If I had to sum up my blog in one line it would be this:
You can raise children who are healthy in every sense of the word at the exact same time that you make the world a better place.
If I had to sum up my blog in two lines it would be the one above, plus this one:
Your children are better served learning how to deal with the world than paying for someone else to help how to avoid it.
Not surprisingly, this has made it difficult to attract advertisers. They would rather I suggest you pay for them to package cultural enrichment in an expensive program, or send them to a gym just for kids. That nature is best experienced with experts in a Nature Program. Couple that with a few posts about dried beans or the constitution on a ‘mommy blog’, and the marketing department has a real problem.
I am not worried about any of this. I know what I know, and I write about it with passion (even the dried beans). I am working on some very exciting projects right now, and I know the advertisers will come. I have even kept a list of the most insulting rejections, and when they come to me asking to advertise to my intelligent readers, I have a special tax in place. It’s called the “Additional Subsidy Subsequent (to) Having Obliviousness – Levied Enthusiastically” tax. I assure you, the acronym is purely coincidence.
Am I successful as a blogger? Yes. Does my bank account reflect it? No. Do I care? Not really. The teachers who reached one child and I know something more important than income. It’s influence to make our community; our world better. I’ll take that over money any day.
This story was written and deleted approximately six times before finally being submitted to the Blog Nosh Carnival, where you can visit and read about others’ success as well as Pepperidge Farm’s extremely generous donation to Feeding America.