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Archive for May 13th, 2021

School administrators, teachers, and parents have surely been challenged this past year or more. We say we “want to make the best decisions for the children.” We are well-meaning when we say that… and yet too many life-influencing decisions this past year have been made out of fear. Fear of a virus. Fear of the unknown. Fear of being called out. Fear of never being able to return to “normal.” Fear of doing what is right in the midst of so much that is wrong. And, as is often the case in times of “crisis,” too many decisions are made with limited information.

This week, a petition to lift our school district’s mask mandate was presented to the school board. The petition had 500 signatures. A group of concerned parents attended the meeting. Long story short, the board voted 3-2 in favor of lifting the mandate seven days prior to summer vacation. There was tension. Words of emotion… but also words of reason and calm. Hours later, thoughts and feeling were made public via Facebook; some constructive, others not so much. The local newspaper quoted certain statements from the meeting but not others. In the days that followed, most everyone acknowledged that the school administration and staff had endured an extraordinarily difficult and wearisome year. However, a few people suggested that the parents bullied the administration and teachers. For now, that suggestion hangs like a gray cloud over our town.

A spirit of fear weighs heavy on many of us. There is unsettledness. Psychological stress. Paralysis. There is an enemy who takes advantage of every opportunity he gets to overwhelm the humans God loves so much. (Jesus calls that enemy a “liar” and “murderer.”) If I were to offer my two cents in the form of a letter-to-the-editor, it would go something like this:

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

The enemy is not the school board, administration, or teachers.

The enemy is not the parents.

The enemy is not one half or the other of this community.

The enemy is anything that seeds chaos, stirs up fear, and turns us inward.

The enemy delights in dividing neighbor against neighbor.     

The enemy never builds up but always tears down.

As neighbors who live and work together, we should resist the enemy. Making good use of our different skills, experiences, and perspectives, we can build bridges to common ground.

We are small town folk. Many of us are thankful to be small town folk. That does not make us less intelligent, rational, or creative.

Small town folk help each other out. When faced with hard things, we rise up to meet the challenge and go the distance. We exchange information and ideas. We may be courageous enough to speak, but also courageous enough to listen. We patiently dialogue possibilities. Watching us, our children and grandchildren learn to do the same.

Many of us remember Mr. Rogers’ invitation, “Won’t you be my neighbor?” I think he understood that neighbors will never agree on everything. But he also understood that self-discipline and kindness to others strengthens community.

In this way, the real enemies who threaten the neighborhood are not so scary.

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Note: I’ve been told that the LTE above will be published in the Iowa Falls Times Citizen on May 19, 2021.

End note: Because I’m limited in posting on my Facebook page, I’m attaching this link to an interview of Dr. Peter McCullough by Tucker Carlson. How did Tucker respond to this physician (The McCullough Report)? “… you’re blowing my mind…” and “I didn’t expect this interview.” Why was Tucker so surprised by what he heard? Find out here: Dr. Peter McCullough on Tucker Carlson: Not an Error of Omission! – America Out Loud THIS is information that our school boards, administrators, teachers, parents, and whole communities need to hear!

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