Thought for the Day: “Changing the World” – the Obamas & Our Moms & You?

Moms – making the world a better place.

“Barack Obama is the America we dreamed about when we were little kids sitting in that classroom with Doritos cheese under our fingernails. He is the grand symbol, the big victory, the fireworks that we so longed for.

Which is a blessing and a curse. On one hand, his election has made a lot of young people believe in the political process again, reflect on their own civic duty, and learn more about community organizing. On the other hand, all the hype that surrounded his candidacy has revived one of our more dangerous delusions—that “saving the world” is about heroics. In fact, the world will not be saved. It will be changed [my emphasis]. It looks more like your mom—her palm on your fevered forehead, her handwritten schedule for sharing child care with neighbors, her letter to the editor of the local newspaper—than it does your president. Activism is a daily, even hourly, experiment in dedication, moral courage, and resilience” (p. XVIII). . . .

[To change the world, we need “heroes.”  We need such people as the ones who averted a terrorist attack on the French train traveling from Amsterdam to Paris last Friday.

We need the “quiet heroes” too].

The good news is that our gifts and the world’s needs are so diverse that we can pursue our own intersection [of our gifts and the needs of our place] while trusting that others will flourish where we would have floundered” (187).

  • from Courtney E. Martin’s Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists, Beacon Press, 2010.

You are needed to help change the world.

Aloha, Renée


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About reneeriley

Our blog was begun as a way to share our experiences in China. From August 2010 to July 2011, my husband, Barry Kristel, and I were at our University of Hawaii Maui College sister school, Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University in Lin'an, China, a city considered rural because it has only 500,000 people! We had a wonderful time. Then in February 2012, we returned to teach this time at our other sister school, Shanghai Normal University, in a city of over 21 million people. We've made many discoveries. Did you know that now Chinese girls, at least the ones who go to university, for the most part feel they are luckier than the Chinese boys? Did you know that Shanghai saved over 20,000 European Jews during WWII? Do you know how Chinese university students would deal with problems that come up in Dear Abby letters? What's it like to be on the Great Wall of China? Do you know how many Chinese girls had their feet bound and why? And we have recipes from many of the places we've visited. Among others, you can find instructions on how to fry cicadas from one of my ZAFU students and how to make chocolate-Kahlua waffles from my brother Mike in Gainesville. You can also look back to our earliest entry to see what we experienced in Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2006 during the mainly peaceful six months of protest until the Mexican government sent in the troops. Between our stays in China, Barry and I have been on the Mainland U.S. visiting family, friends and Servas hosts as we traveled home to Maui. We share those experiences too. Welcome to our blog! Aloha and Zài Jiàn, Renée and Barry

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