Sunday, September 02, 2007

Blog Slacker

Yes, that's me. Your resident blog slacker. I've had numerous brainstorms lately - things that I really ought to commit to writing as I ponder them through my head. And yet, you see the pitiful results here. Nothing for over a week. I need to do better. Not for you, mind you. For me. Writing this blog was something I started for myself. You guys, reading it and making comments, are just ICING on top. I do love me some icing! But still, the writing is healthy and good for me and I'm going to commit to doing it more. Promise. Keep in mind that I've been known to eat the icing off cupcakes and throw the rest away....comments make me happy inside!

Here's one of my latest inner brainstorm sessions....

I'm convinced that the world would be a better place if all the folks with children under the age of 18 broke up into towns between 5 and 10 thousand in population. It would also help if extended family groups, for the most part, ( lovers, haters, fighters, and all) stayed within that same town or general vicinity. This thinking, of course, is based on my recent move to this little town where I'm teaching. It's different here. The kids here have something kids in big places don't have. They are accountable and they matter. Everyone here belongs to everyone else and is connected through time, place, and experience. I'm not just Ms. Ferguson, Johnny's 4th grade teacher. I'm Ms. Ferguson, whose cousin's cousin married Johnny's aunt who lives on the place just across the fence from Ms. Ferguson's uncle on her daddy's side of the family. If this sounds confusing, it is. Confusing in a lovely, connected, sometimes twisted, and yet validating sort of way. I'm somebody. And so is Johnny. We belong to people and those people know us and expect certain things from us. And Johnny and I will go on living here and Johnny may end up being my principal or my superintendent one day. Or, Johnny may end up fixing the flat on my tire or changing my oil and I'll be no less appreciative of him or interested in him as a person because we're connected and we always have been. Johnny will go to my funeral and comfort my children and my grandchildren.

Sure, there are a few downsides this sort of near "incestuous" sort of living. Johnny's 2nd cousin who works at the bank could divulge exactly where and how Ms. Ferguson spends her monthly paycheck. What's more, alot of folks would be very interested to know. Thankfully, I'm not tempted by casinos or nightclubs because that sort of information could travel across the county quicker than I could make the short drive home.

All in all, though, I'm all for the small town connectedness that I've discovered here. It's exactly what I need at this point in my life and I consider it a blessing. And, I can't help but think of so many of my former students in Granbury who I believe would benefit greatly from being connected like this. I met so many 7th graders last year who seemed to just need a place to belong and to know that they mattered to someone.

*whew* That felt good. I think I'll write more often!

love and grace,
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Norm! said...
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Norm! said...

Wow, that is a small town! I sometimes wonder about moving to small town or even just a quiet suburb.

Of course, you don't have to live in small town to run into familiar faces. A friend from the first grade works where I bank. He monitors my bank/credit accounts and does call me when my spending is out of control and I need credit [or a bank fee reversal :( ]. It's a little creepy.

Anonymous said...

I TOTALLY agree with the idea of putting people into smaller townships. Accountability or being known for who you are and what you do is great. You gain credit and worth based on your reputation. However, my mom grew up in a small town and her mother was known for being outspoken, unruly, etc.... My poor mom and her brothers had to put up with that while growing up. Fortunately they all turned out to be great people but she does recall the hostile looks they recieved sometimes. My mom credits the reputation of her grandmother and partially being raised by her grandmother for the good times they had in their small town and the strength of character that she and her brothers developed.

grace said...

You're right Norm! I know lots of folks who've visited foreign countries and run into former classmates or even neighbors they hadn't met yet! Those sorts of happenings are comforting, aren't they?

Anonymous: Thanks for such a thoughtful comment. Hope you will do so more often! :)

Jarred said...

Having grown up in the kind of area you're describing, I can certainly attest to the accuracy of your points. I loved the fact that everyone knew everyone else.

But in my experience, there's a shadow side to that experience, too. If you don't "fit in" with the general culture of your small town, it can create all kinds of problems. I grew up in rural Pennsylvania. Let's just say that being a gay witch in such an environment didn't always make it easy to fit in and socialize. So for me, moving to a smaller city was a perfect option.

I suppose the other solution would be to find or build a smaller community that caters to my sensibilities. But the problem that I see with that approach is that it's too easy to fall into isolationism. And I don't exactly think that's healthy either.

grace said...

Well, I think all of us build up our own sorts of "small communities" within the larger place we live....and I completely understand the unhealthy isolationism you're referring to. I often felt a great deal of that when I was married to Tdub because I wanted to isolate alot of the time for trust and safety reasons. And...actually...I'm promoting the rural small-town thing really just as the most ideal place to raise a family, not necessarily something that's for everyone. Sounds like you have a figured out healthy ways to be in community...which is really the key for all of us when it gets down to it. I appreciate your always! :)