Busy Actually Helping

Saturday morning.

Our day started with an old lady and her walker carefully navigating an ill-plowed, ice-rutted street. Slowly, carefully, up the middle of the street, because the sidewalk was in even worse shape, and nobody from the city was around to do anything about it.

Just another Saturday in January.

Not just any Saturday, I suppose. Today, National Family Literacy Day will be celebrated in communities across the country - a few days early, but weekends are often family time.

In our region, several groups have joined with the Literacy Coalition of New Brunswick in inviting the public to participate in an attempt to break a Guinness World Record: for “most children reading with an adult – multiple locations.”

Officially, since 1999, Family Literacy Day has been January 27th. This is a nation-wide initiative that promotes the importance of reading and learning together as a family. The promotion campaign originated with ABC Canada Literacy Foundation and founding Family Literacy Day sponsor, Honda Canada.

We used to hustle about in search of some P.R. event that could to mark the day. But, lately, we've been more busy actually helping families.

It can be a lonely business. Sometimes it seems like the gap between support for promotional campaigns that highlight the importance of literacy in families, and support for field work that actually aids families has never been greater.

Getting appropriately-leveled books to adults and children, listening to their successes and struggles, helping parents access emergency food and health resources in the midst of scarcity, acting as advocates, correcting school-taught misconceptions about early childhood education, making phone calls to child protection or the police.... and then doing what we need to to stay positive and healthy ourselves. This (mostly unpaid) work occupies our hearts and time completely.

Posters and Honda ads and world records are all good and fine. But we're preoccupied by the sight of parents and families largely abandoned along ill-plowed, ice-rutted streets, with nobody else around to do anything about it.


Cheryl Brown said...

I liked the post! It was short and to the point - I'm sure it will be thought provoking, for some....

Cheryl :)

literacies publisher said...

perfectly stated wendell... as usual.