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My Lessons from Prison, Visit 2

- As class ended, students thanked me repeatedly for coming to visit them, making them “feel that we are not disasters forgotten by the world.” They promised to make sure that their professor gives me a copy of their magazine of collected writings and will sign their names so I don’t forget them. I’ll never forget them. Good teachers are hard to find. And I’ll be back.

“Just Help”

- Yes, a restorative sense of belonging comes along with service. Making a contribution always boosts the spirit. And now, with so many feeling helpless in the face of frightening political and societal events beyond our control, “just helping” has never been a better idea. Opportunities are endless— over here, over there, by the side of the loner, at the door of the caregiver, shoes going to Somalia and shelter for the Somalian refugee.

My Lessons from Prison

- Inmates at the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women can earn a two-year community college degree, beneficiaries of Doris Buffett’s incredible Sunshine Foundation. The week before our class, they read about Courage and Humanity from Little Big Minds. Their assignment was to be prepared with their own definitions of these concepts and with questions for me. They were so much more than prepared. They were amazing. Eager, respectful of each other and the professor and me, smart, honest, inquisitive, articulate, grateful for their educations, responsible for their lives past and future and focused on the present.

A Timeless Inauguration Poem

- In her riveting voice, Angelou’s cadence captures this promise: “History, despite its wrenching pain / Cannot be unlived, but if faced / With courage, need not be lived again.” There we have it—the powerful motivation of the massive peaceful protests that inspired our country on January 21 and reverberated worldwide. “On the Pulse of Morning” once again serves as a summons to action, each of us newly wise to what can’t be undone but can be corrected.

 

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