Throughout our class on Friday, especially our discussion following Addie's visit, my Mom's voice kept popping up in my head saying "life is tough, get a helmet."
Life is really hard, we have a crappy economy, a clearly broken education system, social upheaval, anger, violence, wars, rumors of wars, and a whole list of other problems that I choose not to think about. Not because I don't want to recognize them, but because I choose not to live my life in fear of what could happen and chance missing out on what is actually happening. I think that is our biggest problem right now, in the world of school libraries (and by extension, the world in general) we are living in a state of constant fear. Fear of budgets, parents, offending someone, losing our jobs, losing our houses, moving, staying in the same place, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
So, what do we do? We can't control the world, we can't sit on a hiring board and hire ourselves to a position, we can't tell people what they should think or do (much to our dismay, at times), we can't raise every child, and we can't expect that everyone we come into contact with will have the same understanding of the problems the world is facing right now. What we can do, what we can control, is what we do on an individual basis. We can be examples of what we want the world to be, by implementing the personal and professional networks that we have talked about, aligning our teaching to our values and principles as school librarians, reach out to our school community, advocate for more inquiry-based lessons that are academically rigorous, and create a library or media center that provides a home for those who want to explore the world around them. And we still might lose our jobs, or, worse, not find one at all. We'll probably work with teachers who don't care to teach. We'll definitely come into contact with parents who are closed-minded or lack adequate parenting skills. But, we know where we stand and what we believe, and sometimes you have to fight for that.
Yes, life is tough, there is no doubt about it. I choose to wear a helmet.