This week in school I taught about the rescuers during the Holocaust and WWII. (We’re reading a Holocaust memoir and I like to give my students historical context.)
We learned about Irena Sendler, who smuggled out 2,500 babies and children from the Warsaw Ghetto, and about Oskar Schindler whose list preserved the lives of 1,200 Jews.
And about Sir Nicholas Winton, who arranged for 669 children to leave Czechoslovakia for new lives in England as the Nazis closed in on Prague.
And about Gail Halvorsen, the Candy Bomber, who started a movement to bring chocolate and gum to the Germans being starved by the Soviets in Berlin in 1948.
Each of these people did something similar: They saw a problem and they INDIVIDUALLY took action. They realized that–all on their own–they could provide relief.
None of them said, “The government really should . . .” because in most of these cases, it was the government CAUSING the problems.
None of them protested or chanted slogans: they went to work instead. The same thing happen in the Civil Rights movement: yes, there were protests, but there were also many individuals taking action on their own to begin with. For example, Rosa Parks set so much in motion by deciding she was no longer going to give up her bus seat.
Also this week my 11-year-old brought home a national publication teaching elementary students about current events. As I helped her answer the questions, she could feel me bristling when I read, “There are many solutions to the problem. First, the government should . . .” My daughter got a lesson she wasn’t expecting: I spouted off for ten minutes on how the government shouldn’t do anything. It was established to keep America safe–and that was ALL it was established to do–so that everyone else could get to the business of solving each others problems.
But it seems we prefer to have someone force what we want for us, instead of doing the work ourselves.
Governments have NEVER solved problems; only individuals have. So what suffering can you alleviate, what wrong can you right, and what work can you do today? Go!
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