Yesterday was the Michigan Education Association “Enough is Enough” rally in Lansing. It was a rally on the capitol steps with over 10 thousand people to support public education. The whole family went, sans Macy because she had a class at the high school she did not want to miss.
We all took a bus there with lots of other teachers, support staff, even a school board member. The kids were very well behaved. They actually have all been to a few rally’s before so they probably knew what to expect better than some of the adults on board. The other rally’s they have been too were not for public education and there were many differences from the other rallies we’ve gone to.
The other rally’s were for gay pride.
Now, for the public education rally, everyone was supposed to wear red. Now, some people didn’t. They forgot or never got the memo…. But overall there was a sea of red across the state capitol grounds. It definitely signified unity. At the gay pride rally it is a splash of colors, glitter, feathers, skin, leather… people definitely attempting to stand out.
For the education rally, I noticed 2 police officers leaning against a hand rail as we walked in. At the end of the rally I noticed a total of 5 police officers chatting pleasantly against that same railing. For the gay pride rally they are readily visible, about every 10 feet. They do not chat with each other, they look totally on duty. I actually mentioned this difference to a teacher friend I was standing close to. I jokingly said that we teachers must not look as rowdy as gay pride attendees. She said maybe the police feel they need to work harder to protect people at the other rally. That not too many people truly oppose public education. I thought that was a great response.
I think it is important for children to learn ways to be able to show support for their causes when they are adults. Also to understand what we, their parents, believe in and that we are willing to stand up for those beliefs. All the rally’s we’ve gone to have been eye opening for the kids. From hearing a 10th grader try to change state policy by speaking about why the arts program is important to her while standing in front of thousands of adults to understanding that watching their mom’s kiss on the capitol steps with 499 other same sex couples means that they are not the only kids around living in a non-traditional family.
As parents, we need to remember that kids are always watching… questioning… learning. It doesn’t just happen in a classroom or when we want it to. As a parent I feel like I have to stay on top of my own behavior as much as theirs. Heaven forbid I start the car BEFORE I put on my seatbelt or have a drink in a restaurant then plan to drive home. My kids will call me on these behaviors as fast as I would call them on having their elbows on the table. I have learned that good parents rarely get time off for bad behavior. Parenting is tough…. Anyone that doesn’t think so is crazy… and childless!! ☺