“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”
“The words above, thought to be the motto, are chiseled in gray granite over the entrance to the New York City Post Office on 8th Avenue and come from Book 8, Paragraph 98, of The Persian Wars by Herodotus.”
This is the motto or slogan and indeed the promise from the United States Postal Servicethat I counted on for so many years. During summer vacations I counted on their promise to deliver promptly the letters I’d write to my friends who went away to camp or to stay with their grandparents. I would be away part of the summer to visit my grandmother. I’d wait by the door for the mail carrier, (then called postman) to bring me letters from my dad who could not take off from work to be with us. Later, I’d wait for letters from my friends serving abroad during the Vietnam war. I couldn’t wait to get the pictures they would take especially of the celebrities showcased in the Bob Hope tours with the USO. Then, there was waiting for the acceptance letters from the dream college I had applied to. And of course, (I have kept them all until now) there were the love letters my husband would write to me with an occasional poem dedicated to me or to our love.
I am sure all of you can relate to these moments that were made possible because we had a reliable source. Namely the postal service. We could count on the promise that no matter what the mail would arrive. Of course, there were delays at times and return to sender mail even though you had written the correct address on the envelope. We have all had some of those experiences.
There has been so much to digest these days and nothing is as important as the devastation caused by this deadly and highly contagious virus that has invaded our country. But the possible threat proposed against our postal system is something we have to stop. Our democracy depends on our postal service. I do not understand how we can allow defunding or privatization of this precious service. The essential workers of this institution have been diligent to get us our medicines and other goods during the stay home mandate.
I remember one of my teachers introducing us to pen pal writing. I had a few pen pals that continued writing to me way beyond the elementary school years. The teacher wrote the postal service slogan on the board. She told us how important it was to have a postal service and explained the many ways that it helped people to stay connected.
I continue to write letters . Yes, I to friends and family even though it has kind of become a lost art and old fashion. I use email and text messaging but there is nothing like writing to a letter to a friend or family member and receiving one from them as well. My grand daughter started writing me letters during the pandemic. These letters made my day. They are my greatest treasure. She enclosed drawings and would tell us how much she missed us.
I know that this may sound over sentimental but a promise is a promise is what I believe firmly. The following is another inscription that sums it all:
Messenger of Sympathy and Love Servant of Parted Friends Consoler of the Lonely Bond of the Scattered Family Enlarger of the Common Life Carrier of News and Knowledge Instrument of Trade and Industry Promoter of Mutual Acquaintance Of Peace and of Goodwill Among Men and Nations.
Please do your part in helping to save our postal service. No matter what your political affiliation or philosophy, I am sure that you will want to think about what the threats being made implicate. Remember many people now rely on the postal service to survive. We must protect the legendary promise that was made to all of us, we the people. All it takes is a postcard or letter to your senator or congressman or woman to insist that they do something to fund the USPS.
The USPS traces its roots to 1775 during the Second Continental Congress, when Benjamin Franklin was appointed the first postmaster general. … It was elevated to a cabinet-level department in 1872, and was transformed by the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970 into the United States Postal Service as an independent agency.
In 1774, the British fired Franklin from his postmaster job because of his revolutionary activities. However, the following year, he was appointed postmaster general of the United Colonies by the Continental Congress. Franklin held the job until late in 1776, when he was sent to France as a diplomat. He left a vastly improved mail system, with routes from Florida to Maine and regular service between the colonies and Britain.
President George Washington appointed Samuel Osgood, a former Massachusetts congressman, as the first postmaster general of the American nation under the new U.S. constitution in 1789. At the time, there were approximately 75 post offices in the country.
As a retired educator, I feel the obligation to stress the need to help our children and young people right now. Parents and families need support as schools open within the next few weeks. School districts and their respective boards and local authorities are planning and trying to make ends meet with regard to supplies to keep their schools clean, safe and how to implement spacial distancing.
Many schools continue to advocate for distance learning or remote learning via Zoom and other Internet platforms. Some districts have opted for a hybrid system alternating days for face to face learning and on-line learning. There is no doubt that these decisions will be protested and opposed by parents, teachers and even our national leaders. There is no one size fits all. There are too many factors to consider.
There is no equity. But then again education has never really been equitable in our country. We even label some school districts poor or rich. This is just a fact. Some cities and towns are funded by property taxes and supplemented by some state and federal entitlements. However, the buildings and technological infrastructure is either excellent and state of the art or very old and in some cases obsolete or non existent. I am not going to point fingers or blame anyone at this point for our failures in education but the truth is not all schools are created nor maintained equally.
Right this minute, parents are trying to figure out how to get their children suitable devices, update their Wifi speeds or even get Internet service, and how to afford remote learning. Teachers typically use their own dollars to buy materials and supplies during the school year. The difference this year is that they cannot buy all their students tablets or computers. So who can help to provide these devices if we should have to go back to stay at home kind of learning? Make a list if you will.
All the medical experts I have listened to have said that children can be infected and can get seriously ill from COVID 19 . Yes, they have better immune systems but what about the immunity of their teachers and the parents and grandparents they go back home to possibly spread the disease.
So, to attend school or not to go back to school is the critical question for all of us. Let us remember that it takes a village. This is just not a cliche anymore. We spend our energy worrying about what sports teams are doing to play and keep their members safe. Many of the players, may I add are millionaires. I support sports just like everyone else; but should not our focus be our education system? Sports fulfill a large part of our cultural needs and help us to relax in many ways. Just like the NFL, NBA and national baseball teams, our educational system needs sensible and professional leadership, good coaching by knowledgeable educators and fitness experts to support students and teachers.
I am calling for action for all of us to do our part. Check out the needs of your school district. If you can donate a tablet or computer. If you know someone who can afford it ask them to donate. Rich companies like Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Samsung, LG, Walmart, Amazon, to name a few, and how about the richer members of the stock exchange to donate computers and devices to communities where children and their families simply cannot afford to get a suitable device. A parent should not have to give their child a cell phone to use during remote learning. Some parents work from home as well. How do they share the time to get on-line? We have always been a very generous country and people. Let us put our money in the right place.
Last, our politicians should work out a viable bipartisan plan to continue to help our most vulnerable populations. We need people to feel safe and empowered again. No one wants to stay home and never leave it. I do not know anyone who loves to be on food stamps or depend on others to survive. Many folks want and need to get back to work.
However we need to help slow down this deadly virus and to keep each other safe. Love thy neighbor! Follow the guidelines to keep yourself and others safe until we find a cure, a safe vaccine and effective treatments. 163,533 souls suffered so much pain and lost their worst life’s battle. Let us not loose the war. It is not appropriate or acceptable to say that “It is what it is”.
We need to keep up the fight, call out those leaders who are not doing their jobs, vote for those who are capable of getting the job done. This is how we will honor the memory of those who have fallen.
Let us pay attention to our local public officials. Check out what they are voting for to keep our country safe. Write letters, make the phone calls.
I want to share this video with Dr. Deepak Chopra regarding focusing on the now and present. Hopefully this will help some of you during this pandemic. We all need to be healthy and happy again. We need to be in the now together to effect the changes we want starting now. Be safe, Be aware. The second video is a session with Eckhart Tolle where he talks about the now. I hope this creates some awareness. Enjoy and be safe. Please leave me your thoughts in the comments.
COVID-19 seems to be spreading at record numbers throughout the United States. The number of deaths may rise by the end of the summer by almost nineteen thousand. This number however can be reversed if according to the leading experts we continue to follow the guidelines set forth by the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
Most worrisome right now is the opening of schools. Many districts have established protocols for opening schools. Some have hydrid schedules such as alternating days for face to face and on-line learning. Basically and ultimately parents will have the last word as to how they prefer to continue their children’s education. The debate continues and it is so confusing at times what and who to believe.
As a former educator, I am torn. I believe some children are actually safer at school when we consider possible child abuse cases that sometimes go unreported if not for the intervention of a teacher or school administrator. However, I also dread the fact that many children do not exhibit COVID-19 symptoms yet they can spread the disease to others including older and more vulnerable adults like grandparents and even their teachers.
I love technology and all its wonderful advantages but I do not believe that on-line learning can be a long-term especially with younger children. We must not forget the different domains of instruction. These domains were established for educators to follow and to provide guidelines for effective and long-term instruction. We must not forget the affective domain. “The affective domain describes the way people react emotionally and their ability to feel another living thing’s pain or joy. Affective objectives typically target the awareness and growth in attitudes, emotion, and feelings” (wiki aricle: Taxonomy of Instructional Objectives).
Another difficult situation is that many lower income children and their families may not have access to the Internet or the devices necessary for on-line learning. We must not forget that some households have different school age children. Another situation that complicates the scene is that parents may be working from home as well. So, how strong is the WiFi signal or the speed in which you can upload and download homework and assignments? No matter what a parent decides in the long run, there may be some regrets unfortunately.
We must remain alert and research what local authorities are doing to make schools safe now. Also, as we move into the flu season, we must learn to differentiate and also prepare our family for possible outbreaks. It is important to act quickly as soon as you suspect a child is sick.
We must also think about the coming years. Many of our school buildings are older, many are dilapidated and should be demolished. The technological infrastructure is not supportive either in many school buildings. I have always advocated for rebuilding, redesigning and creating healthier and safer schools. We need to protect our children from possible violence, cyber-bullying, in addition to now keeping schools cleaner and germ free. I know I am probably making you nervous by now but this is what we need to remediate. The only way to do this is to study and research what future senatorial and congressional candidates are proposing. What are their track records when it comes to education? What policies are they responsible for making? Do they vote for the equitable funding of all schools in all neighborhoods. School board leaders are usually elected. Find out who is running and what their platform is and how it may effect your family. School superintendents are usually appointed by mayors or other officials. Be careful of the ones who are very political and only look to further their careers. Find out who they are and make sure your community and your concerns are addressed. Go to meetings and vote.
This Pandemic has raised many questions about how we do business in our cities and towns. It has raised an awareness about what our politicians are doing to help us through this crisis and more importantly what they are not willing to do. Are they partisan or are they will to compromise and take action?
Parents need to be informed. Working parents need to get the help and assistance they need. We are all in this together. It takes a village, a township, a city, a state, and of course the federal government to take the necessary steps to keep all families safe and healthy.
While it is important to remain informed about the politics that are so vital right now, it is essential that you know the sources of the information distributed. Critical thinking is very important. We are told that many things on social media are sometimes deceptive. We have become very familiar with terms like “alternative facts” and “fake news”. How do we know for sure that what is being said is the truth? Well, for one thing we should listen to all sides of the issue. Learn how reliable those sources are and then Question, Question, Question!
Listening attentively and mindfully to what is being said takes patience and effort. What are the buzz words that are constantly repeated? Why are they being repeated? Who is doing the repeating? Check out the legitimate fact checkers.
Regarding COVID-19, it is easy to get confused and feel that some information is conflicting. Ask you own personal primary care practitioners what they believe about safety measures, how you may be at risk and what is the smart thing to do to keep your family safe. Take it personal.
Share facts with other people. Pass on the latest information with others in your immediate community. Remember it does take a village to get the results we want, No one person can do it alone. No one!
Maya Angelou said it best in her lyric poem, “Alone”. “The tone is of deep feeling or emotional reflection on the author’s part. The poem deals with togetherness by placing emphasis on being alone; quite an irony. It is a lyrical “thinking out loud”, a reflection on what it is to be a human and ‘out here’ in the big wide world.” There is no need to be alone, We are in this together. Believe it.
Create a checklist of what you know are the facts. Once you know what you know, share it. Discuss it with others. We need to ask ourselves what are the most important precautions we can take for your family. Create a plan of action and be ready for anything. Leave everything to the imagination. We have been conditioned to listening to only the sound bytes; we need to be more comprehensive in seeking the truth. Definitely expect the worse so that you are prepared for the worse. But stay positive at the same time because preparedness usually results in success.
What do you know? Share it in the comments below. Stay safe! God bless America!
Please let me know how tired you may be feeling about what is happening in our country. I am so interested in knowing the emotional stress that people are under right now. There are apps that are being promoted on-line for people to use for relaxation. I will devote one post a week to try to help myself and anyone else who wishes to join me in coping with the stress and exhaustion caused by the tension, uncertainty and frankly craziness that is going on. Please continue to stay safe and follow the medical guidelines that make sense. We need to protect each other. God bless.
*I often go back and read my poems and revise them to reflect my current sentiments about a topic. The little bird represents so many things. It is in a way a deity of sorts, a messenger fro the universe to help us make sense of tragedy and violence. Perhaps I am also a dreamer. But I like to think that there is hope for humanity.
A little bird told me
“Listen only to what wise people have to say.”
It spoke to me In a very alarming way.
I have always listened carefully to those I thought were very smart.
But all I heard was actually a lot of stupid stuff.
I have always tried the dodge the darts,
poisoned with hatred, bigotry and words that were really rough.
I pleaded with the universe to help stop the madness,
and declared enough is enough.
I turned to the little bird and explained my confusion,
But It flew away suddenly
as if to say,
What did you expect from your delusion?
Sadly, even birds seem to understand what is going on today.
They know about disrespect
and I think they even get
the meaning of reject.
I am watching for that little bird to come back to me.