Strengthen Your Circle

We attended an open house in our neighborhood with Representative John Ward for our district in the Minnesota House of Representatives.

Our host also invited Paul to speak about his ideas as a candidate for the Brainerd City Council. The small size of the group led us to some real discussions about the societal challenges we face and possible solutions to those challenges.

Education rose to the top as a primary solution to ensure that the next generation is literate, responsible and prepared. We all came to the conclusion, as well, of a cultural shift away from the same parental expectations that were once instilled in young people at home.

Someone remarked that in the group that was gathered, we appeared to set those expectations, and as a result, have well-adjusted children but what about all those in our society today that don’t.  What do we do for them and about them?

The pause in the room felt as if even the candidates were overwhelmed by the enormity of what lies ahead for our society. I don’t know what possessed me to do it, but I opened my mouth into a passionate plea and spoke from my mother heart.

We Strengthen Our Society When We Strengthen Our Circles

We Can Model. We can invite people to share our good habits and traditions. We had a library habit from the time my kids could walk. Every week we went to the library on a certain day and time. We’d come home, I’d read a story and we’d nap with books next to us. In this short span of our life, my children not only became literate readers, they learned how to take this same habit and apply it once we outgrew naps and life circumstances change.

We Can Encourage. We can praise mothers and fathers for the good things they do. We can encourage those mothers in the grocery store who remain firm even when confronted with a temper tantrum or validate a mother who’s made a hard choice and needs a little affirmation.  We can honor the stalwarts of years past by listening to their advice and considering how it might fit today. We can thank our own family members for simple menial tasks that always have to be completed.

We Can Support. We can read to anyone, young or old—whether its is a one-liner or a whole story. We can listen and respond. Most of the people within our circle don’t want us to solve their problems, they just want to be heard and then solve them on their own. We can smile.  And when the day is done and we have little left in us, we can always pray.

When we are faced with a problem and identify a solution, even a good solution that seems like a good choice for all involved, we have a tendency to want to make everyone follow suit. But we cannot force, coerce, and compel to change our society. We cannot just regulate our way to the good. We can encourage, model, support, and even persuade. And if I did that in my circle and you did that in yours, positive changes would ripple through our homes, communities and country.


  1. Trent
    Oct 27, 2010

    Good for you for opening your mouth. Sometimes we just can’t let truth be silent. Good for Paul and you to be involved in your community, to stick your necks out, to be a difference.

  2. L Jensen
    Nov 12, 2010

    Right on! I admire your courage to open your mouth and speak.

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