I said something slightly disparaging about a speeding driver we saw on the way to school this morning. One of my twin 7-year-olds asked, "Mommy, does that driver inspire you?"
I kind of like that she uses words even when she isn't 100% sure of the meaning.
So, we talked about what the word 'inspire' means and what type of people and things inspire us. One of my twin daughters may be a bit of a politician as her first answer was "The earth and my mom inspire me." Well, one of those actually pays her allowance.
Our recent camping trip made an impression on them: "Lizards inspire me!" "Trees inspire me!"
My kids inspire me. I actually found my mood lifting while thinking of all the people who really inspire me.
The striking Walmart workers inspire me. They're pushing their company from within to be better than it is on the issue of workers' rights. Their slogan "Stand Up, Live Better" says it all. And they further inspire me by engaging in a campaignof solidarity with the garment workers who make the clothes they sell.
I'm also inspired by Karen Lewis and the Chicago Teachers Union fighting against the closing of 50 Chicago publicschools. They’re on the front lines of the fight for public education. As my daughters and I walk to our local public school - a time of day I cherish more than anything - I think about how this right can’t be taken for granted anymore. So many families are losing their neighborhood public schools due to defunding in favor of privatization and charter schools.
This is one of the most important fights in my world but it seems connected to all the ways low income and working people are losing rights. I think anyone who stands up to say ‘this is wrong!’ and does something about it is my hero right now. It can feel like we’re losing big time. But we have to push back for the things that make our lives worthwhile – quality public schools, safe working conditions, dignity and respect for all workers.
How else can we win the next generation’s respect?