Skip to main content

Help Wanted: Finding Our Patient Courage, Resiliency, and Hope

By Sarah R. Johnson

We are desperate for a new story, a promising narrative, words of encouragement grounded in our history of tenacity, strength, and determination. As Americans we are a people of courage, possibility, and hope. It’s in our family stories, in our DNA, and it’s still very much in each and everyone of us, yet it feels hidden deep within and difficult to find at times.

Today we are brought down by fear, uncertainty, confusion, disbelief, oppression, and overall lack of confidence in the leadership we are lead by.  Depending on the day and issue this lack of leadership shows up in all of our institutions: schools, religious organizations, government at every level, and sometimes even in our own families. We are becoming victims instead of warriors.

Instead of our kids being told to believe that they must go back to school in order to survive (and put everyone at risk of contracting COVID-19), why aren’t we teaching our kids tools of resiliency, courage, and patience? What if the message to our kids is that they are strong, confident, and brave. They are going to live through this and be stronger for it. Could this time be an opportunity to teach our children a tremendous life skill that they can hold on to forever? I’m starting to wonder why this hasn’t been the message all along.

Wisdom leaders are among us. Many are in senior living centers where visitation is nearly impossible during a pandemic. Yet, they are here and have a lot to teach the rest of us. My 100 year old grandmother, a public health nurse lived through world wars, economic depressions, nuclear war, the polio epidemic, civil rights movement, and loss of many people and many disappointments along the way. Life is a series of losses and always has been; yet one has to keep stepping forward, knowing that this world is a place of possibility and opportunity. Each and every person was put on this earth to make an impact, yet if people stop seeing the possibility, they begin to lose belief in their purpose and their hope.

How is it that we have so quickly forgotten where we come from? As Americans, we are the children of immigrants. We are the children of brave, courageous people who risked everything for something better. I believe we need to remember and listen to the wisdom from our family stories, our elders, our community history to help us see through the increasing noise of this current circumstance. The noise has gotten so loud we are collectively forgetting one of the most important things our elders can teach us; that we are resilient people of courage, possibility, and hope who must be patient. We must be patient to overcome this time of trial and inconvenience; loss and missed experiences; pain and grief. We must commit to the long view and know that we are becoming who we need to be today, to have the courage to continue to take one step, and then another, and then another.

As the days get shorter, leaves have fallen, and winter storms begin to bring much needed moisture to the southern Rocky Mountains I sit alone with a cup of tea and reflect on my thoughts and noticings. I consider my role in education, in my community, and in this moment in time. This is the first of many pieces to come of pondering and writing as a way to share my truth in this moment of time. - Sarah 


Popular posts from this blog

Earth Education Expands to Teach Active Participation in Public Life

By Sarah R. Johnson, MAEd, Wild Rose Education Originally published at InTeGrate Science Education Resource Center As the world continues to be bombarded by wicked issues, neuroscience research continues to expand and inform the field of teaching and learning. We scientifically know how to teach learners how to change their perspective to be better observers, rewire neural pathways and, think about problems in systematic expansive ways. Combining this knowledge with the creative ingenuity of our youth, there is ample real hope and opportunity for our future; a future of collective wisdom, a systems approach, and inclusion of all types of knowledge and ever expanding understanding of how the natural world works. Earth Education leaders (administrators, practitioners, and researchers) have a profound responsibility to include the best of what is known about teaching and learning, Earth Science, and community engagement into their every day professions to ensure opportunities to foste

Feathers, Dead Baby Birds, and Eggshells: A Most Authentic Investigation

It is not often that an outdoor science educator has unlimited unstructured time at a nature preserve with a small group of only six 8-12 year olds who are stoked on exploring, asking tons of questions, and creating their own possible explanations. I was blessed with this experience and it has left a visceral impression with me that will last a long time. Taking careful consideration of the evidence On the second day of our Adventure Scientists day camp we began the day heading out to a new area of the nature preserve we hadn’t yet explored. The students practiced their habits of a scientist recalling the skills we had learned the previous day. Utilizing their hand lenses and new language of “I notice…”, “I wonder…”, “it reminds me of…” they set out exploring the grassy peninsula stretching into the lake and the thick willows. There was not a time limit set, only some geographic boundaries. They began to find delicious smelling orchids, interesting textures of plants, and a few cr