Growing up, one of my heroes was Gandhi. I remember watching the movie of his life in my 9th grade history class and being inspired by his “March to the Sea” where he and his followers marched to protest the British colonial rule of India and their monopoly on salt. It was reminiscent of the Boston Tea Party 150 years earlier. I continued to realize that the people and movements that I admired from history had one thing in common…they acted! Many times this action took the form of marching. From Gandhi’s march to liberate India, to the marches for women’s suffrage, to Dr. King’s march for civil rights, to the current day Women’s March and the student led March for our Lives, the power of people coming together peacefully and uniting for a cause has great power.
Last month, my oldest daughter came to me to let me know what she wanted for her sixteenth birthday. My first thought was that she was all set as she was getting my old car for her birthday, but I thought I would hear her out. What she said surprised me. She said that she wanted to go to Washington D.C. to join the other students for the March for our Lives event, which happened to fall on her birthday. She didn’t want to be a passive supporter, she wanted to take action! I was filled with pride of my daughter and her willingness to act on her beliefs. I told her I would be happy to take her to Washington D.C. for her birthday and march with her. By the time we got tickets for our bus ride to D.C., my youngest daughter had expressed her desire to march as well. My wife, who participated in the Women’s March a year before, also wanted to participate. Soon, our whole family was packed up and ready to march together!
We got on a crowded bus at 11:00 PM and rode through the night. We arrived at Union Station at 10:00 AM on Saturday, March 24. After a hasty breakfast, we joined the other 850,000 people who came to march. The rally was crowded, but friendly. The speakers included students from Parkland, Florida and from across the nation. There was even a surprise appearance from Yolanda Renee King, granddaughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We met people from all over the country, from every age and every background, united to take action for positive change. My daughter probably had more birthday wishes than she had ever received in her life. After the rally, we marched to the Capitol Building and then ate a quick dinner before getting on the bus for an overnight ride back to Michigan. Sunday was spent napping and having birthday cake and getting ready for work on Monday. The experience was like a whirlwind and I am still processing it.
As I reflect on the experience, there are some things that stand out to me. First, there is real power when people come together for a united cause. Marching isn’t just symbolic, it’s real action that people take to show solidarity and often is a catalyst for political and societal change. The next thing that stood out to me was that standing up for what you believe in comes with a price. For every glorious march in the history books, there were people who ridiculed, opposed, and even tried to stop the momentum for change. Taking a stand for your beliefs can make you a target for anger and backlash, especially in the age of social media where it is far too easy to strike out in anger and scroll past people who may have opposing views, rather than listening to understand. Finally, I realized how proud I am of my daughters for having the courage of their convictions and taking action for what they believe in. My goal of this post is not to promote a political agenda or sway the reader to my point of view. It’s to show the power we all have when we take action on our beliefs and come together in a positive way.
As a parent and educator, I know the challenges of raising and teaching a strong-willed child. Their stubborn independence and even defiance can be frustrating. However, it’s these strong-willed children that will make this world a better place by following the advice of my hero Gandhi, as they take action and “be the change” they want to see in the world!
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” – Mahatma Gandhi
“Organize, agitate, educate, must be our war cry.”– Susan B. Anthony
“The time is always right to do what is right.”– Martin Luther King, Jr.
Gandhi’s March to the Sea (4 minutes)
- Monday, April 9: Celebrate Monday Assembly (Reflection) 9:05 AM
- Tuesday, April 10: Achievement Team for G.W. (Hurula) 8:15 AM, Achievement Team meeting with Laura Flis for N.S. 9:30 AM
- Thursday, April 12: Staff Meeting8:05 AM
- Monday, April 16: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05 AM
- Tuesday, April 17: Achievement Team for A.C. (Adams) 8:15 AM, Achievement Team for C.P. (Medellin) 10:00 AM, Parent Meeting for N.A. (Williams) 2:35 PM
- Thursday, April 19: Collaborative Learning Time7:50-8:50 AM
- Friday, April 20: Spring Pictures for Lifetouch
- Saturday, April 21: PTA Garden Beautification 9:00-2:00
- Monday, April 23: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05 AM
- Tuesday, April 24: MET/IEP for N.S. (Benson) 8:15 AM, REED for C.R. (Benson) 3:25 PM, Youth Making a Difference Ceremony at Franklin HS 6:00 PM
- Wednesday, April 25: Administrative Professionals’ Day!!
- Thursday, April 26: Art Fair (K-4), Music Concert (Grades 1&2), Science Fair(for participating students) 6:00-8:00 PM
- Monday, April 30: Student of the Month Assembly9:05 AM, PTA Meeting 7:00 PM, M-Step Testing Window Opens