I just don’t have a clue. There are so many things that I take for granted, never question, never even KNOW about. So I’m grateful for a wide variety of media sources and for knowing a broad spectrum of people, many of which/whom I don’t agree with or share experiences with.
For I believe that change starts with KNOWING. We don’t empathize in the abstract. We don’t get involved in the abstract. We get involved because we begin to KNOW, begin to experience something, relate to a story, relate to a person in front of us.
So I was thankful today to read in The Washington Post about a high school student who is rowing crew and the obstacles she is facing in being not very fit to begin with and not easily able to pay all the fees associated with a club sport. It was a classic example of the rich getting richer and the “non-rich” being easily stuck where they are.
This line describes the challenge: “Maryam Ali, 16, stands out on the West Potomac High School crew team. On a mostly white team, she is black. In a sport dominated by the affluent, she lives in subsidized housing. And unlike her teammates with sports backgrounds, she struggles with health and weight problems. Her presence is a stark reminder of the growing class gap in youth sports.”
My own children (and I) had the chance to try a variety of extracurricular activities “just because.” Actually it can end up being a ridiculous array of things that kids get to try — art classes, pottery, fencing, horseback riding, math enrichment, soccer, lacrosse, softball, tennis, swimming, diving, ice hockey, photography, cooking, to name a few. And we take it for granted that everyone gets a shot at being a renaissance kid. What is the POINT of renaissance kids? I know that confidence building is great. But truly, how many kids benefit from ALL these options?
And what if the opportunities could be spread around a little?
I have such admiration for the young woman featured in this story in the Post. She enjoys the activity, wants to improve in it, is persevering and will likely be changed by the experience, as will her family.
The story really affected me, in that it showed me another place in my life where I make assumptions, where I take things for granted, where I realize I’ve not been aware of opportunities to try and make things accessible to those who don’t naturally have access.
There are so many needs and wants in the world that could be easily filled or met by those who have resources but lack knowledge. How to proceed?