This week turned out to be the week of news about vaccinations, boosters, and increasing number of cases; as well as about the events of January 6, 2021.
In addition, social media also has seen a surge in discussions on whether schools (that have opted for in-person learning) should go back to remote learning (like some other school). While I certainly don’t want to start a debate on this, I for one, am thankful that both my kids are continuing in-person learning. True, it has its challenges with the current spikes, but for these “zoomers,” being in the classroom has become so much more important. And as I looked at the various petitions people send to have schools this way or that, and discuss about how the events of January 6, 2021 continue to impact us, I also realized the truth in these words, “Be the change you want to see.”
Giving thought to the Jan 6th riots led me to a much more inspiring memory from last year, Amanda Gorman’s inaugural poem (it was these riots that led her to write these powerful words).
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How Can We Be the Change
The one thing that is constant is change. Each day and every minute, we are changing, little by little, whether we realize it or not. We change as we grow, our likes and dislikes change, the world around us changes, and so on and so forth. And when there is something that we think is not right and does not seem to be changing, we can set the ball rolling, and be the change ourselves.
Pick the Change You Want to See and Work on It
Do you see something around you that you don’t like? It can be anything – from right in your home or neighborhood, to the larger community around or even a global issue like climate change. Give it some thought and see what you can do to make a difference.
For example, if it is climate change, each of us can do our part by following the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle mantra. We can donate things we don’t use anymore, ensure we don’t buy things we don’t really need, and strive to buy eco-friendly products wherever and whenever possible.
Remember that what is around us, the good and the bad, is a result of what we, as a society, have thought and done before; so it naturally follows that what we think about and act on today, is going to impact how our world looks in the many tomorrows to come.
“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” – Albert Einstein
Change Yourself and Lead by Example
. “I wanted to change the world. But I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself.” ― Aldous Huxley
Well, again stating the obvious. But like many have said before me, change starts from within. And we have the most influence on ourselves, so why not start from there, well, here? Instead of trying to change others, or trying to change the world, we can easily work on changing ourselves. When we do that, we can let others see the impact those changes have on the world around us, and thus lead by example. For example,
“Consider how hard it is to change yourself and you’ll understand what little chance you have in trying to change others.” ― Jacob M. Braude
Remember, Every Step By Each of Us Counts; and the Little Things Do Matter
“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” – Jane Goodall
Adding to Jane Goodall’s quote, each of us working on that small difference, in the right direction, can lead to greater things and greater changes. We can do the little things, or big things, but everything makes an impact. Be it complimenting someone that day, or doing a RAK (random act of kindness), or penning a letter to your local congressman about an issue that needs to be addressed, everything has a ripple effect.
“Just take any step, whether small or large. And then another and repeat day after day. It may take months, maybe years, but the path to success will become clear” – Aaron Ross
So, go ahead and do the little things and the big things. You can check out this post for some ideas, and some more below:
- Compliment someone and make their day and be genuine about it. Smile when you compliment them (well, masks make it difficult, yes, but smiling helps make it all better)
- Donate (your time, your things, whatever you can)
- Pick up trash when you go on a hike (but make sure you have the basic protective equipment, like gloves and a bag to put the trash in)
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.— Lao Tse
Last, but not the least (for this section of my post), I would like to leave you with these words of wisdom from Calvin. I love how wise Calvin and Hobbes are, like the philosophers they are named after!
Change Sings : Book Review
Title: Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem
Author: Amanda Gorman
Illustrator: Loren Long
Genre: Children’s Prejudice & Racism Books/Poetry (4 – 8 years, and up)
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers (September 21, 2021)
Source: Personal copy
A lyrical picture book debut from #1 New York Times bestselling author and presidential inaugural poet Amanda Gorman and #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator Loren Long
“I can hear change humming
In its loudest, proudest song.
I don’t fear change coming,
And so I sing along.”
In this stirring, much-anticipated picture book by presidential inaugural poet and activist Amanda Gorman, anything is possible when our voices join together. As a young girl leads a cast of characters on a musical journey, they learn that they have the power to make changes—big or small—in the world, in their communities, and in most importantly, in themselves.
With lyrical text and rhythmic illustrations that build to a dazzling crescendo by #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator Loren Long, Change Sings is a triumphant call to action for everyone to use their abilities to make a difference
Without having to state the obvious, Amanda Gorman’s words reach out to the reader from the pages of this book. With just a few rhyming, rhythmic words that simply ask to be read out loud, Gorman sends out a call to action to all readers, regardless of age or race. She lets the youngest readers know that they’re “what the world is becoming,” and that everyone can make a difference. Oh, I can keep writing about the magic in her words, but I am off to read it again, so I think you should go ahead and read it soon too.
Loren Long’s illustrations are always amazing; be it in the book titled Love by Matt de la Pena (perfect for Valentine’s Day, fyi) or President Obama’s A Letter to My Daughters, each one shows various facets of this talented artist. So, suffice to say, I loved his artwork in Change Sings as well. It not only complements Gorman’s inspiring, rhyming lyrics, it also adds to the narrative. We see the kids working to better themselves, and their surroundings as we turn the pages; be it picking trash, or building a ramp for a friend that needs it And I love how inclusive and diverse the vibrant and yet gentle and heartwarming illustrations are.
The book overall is a delight to read (aloud), and you can simply read it for the joy it brings, or read it so you feel inspired to spring to action! For when one of us starts working on changing ourselves and our world around us for the better, and show how it can be fun and lead to happiness, soon, others will join in too.
A Little More Change!
You can listen to a sample of Gorman reading Change Sings here.
Check out this excellent Teacher’s Guide from Random House for resources to use with the book with young readers (and old)
A powerful, wonderful read that you will return to over and over again. A must have for anyone and everyone.
Get It Here
- 4 Wonderful Books That Show Age Doesn’t Matter
- Books That Will Help Us Make the World a Better Place
- Book Review: Kid Activists
And Now, the End of This Post
Dear reader, have you read this book? Or other books by Gorman? Your thoughts on them? Do you have recommendations for other similar reads? I would love to hear from you. What is the change you most want to see in the world?