Insert emoji with one finger tapping my chin, while I thoughtfully look up somewhere beyond the tree tops. There are lots of things that make me go hmm...such as flip flops with fur on them. That one is pretty contradictory, in my opinion. Then, there are other things like cautionary signs on hair dryers that say "Do not use in bathtub". I mean, that one ought to be pretty obvious, right?
Except, seemingly it's not. Apparently, we have to state fundamental facts like "Smoking Causes Cancer" and "Black lives matter".
Let me introduce you to Mr. B, a former student from the culinary class I teach at the downtown men's shelter. These men are homeless for various reasons, and the reasons they are there is of less concern to me than the necessity to equip them with skills so they can get employed, and stay employed. Believe me when I tell you, not a single one of them wants to be there. Mr. B., who was initially quiet, emerged soon enough as the fastest learner in the group, and witty to boot. His interest was obvious from the keenly intelligent questions he always asked, and his quick comebacks kept class light-hearted.
One day I was teaching knife skills, and expounding on the various types of knives, their uses and specific functions, as well as the importance of keeping them sharp and at peak performance. Mr. B's voice piped up and said, "so you're saying chef's knives matter". Of course that got the intended laugh out of the class (I will admit it took most of them a minute to understand that he was, in fact, alluding to the slogan of Black Lives Matter). Have I mentioned that Mr. B is a young man who is black? I thought his 'Chef's Knives Matter' quote was awfully clever, and the more I've thought about it, the more appropriate it seems. We are all different, with various experiences and unique skill sets which, when applied properly, enhance the melting pot of our society. But, in order to contribute to society, we must first, as children and then young adults be taught our purpose. Be nurtured, taken care of and cherished, so we know to do the same. In other words, be honed to peak performance.
It should go without saying that all lives are of equal importance, that we as human beings matter. If ought to be shameful to us as a society that we have to talk about the fact that lives other than our own matter. I prefer Mr. B's take on it, his tongue-in-cheek approach that we can say anything we like, but it's what we do that matters. I liked it so much, in fact, that I put it on a shirt. Multiple shirts. And have decided to offer them for sale. Available for now at our Farmer's Market booth in North Hills, we are going to use every cent of the profit from the sale of these shirts to benefit children and youth who are not being taught their own value. I have a few ideas, but would like to hear from you, if you know how we can make an impact.
Do something. For someone. I promise you it matters to them.