Anticipating my son-in-laws deployment, I child-proof the house, but I had forgotten 16-month olds leave a wake of dismantled objects on their way to the next glittering attraction.
And so, though I thought I had completed the task, last night, Ciena climbed on a chair to reach the glass lantern suspended just out of reach. As I watched from where I was playing tunes on the piano, she slipped to the floor, bottom first, just missing pillows I had strategically placed near the sharp edge of the fireplace hearth. So much for the pillow. And she's fine. But this incident reminds me of how vigilance requires the one caring be alert and mindful of the needs of her charges. (Please see: Caring-A Feminine Approach to Ethics & Moral Education, by Nel Noddings, University of California Press, 1984)
Somehow this experience with Ciena fits in with yesterday afternoon as I planned with Cascadia students a service learning workshop for faculty. Students will be part of the dialogue at the workshop to share their perspectives about service learning projects. I was intrigued by Chris's comment on how service learning is different from learning in other courses. Chris serves at Jubilee Reach Community Center and teaches youth how to drum. I thought his answer would have to do with music, Chris's talent the youth at Jubilee Reach enjoy, but instead, it was about how service learning provides a way to gain firsthand understanding of what it means to single parent and face unique challenges. So what does it mean? I asked him. It means to juggle everything for your children....
And this takes me to the ways we all can contribute--and our students do contribute every time they engage with an organization concerned with the needs of youth--to ease the burden, pick up the slack and do our unique part to share on behalf of improving the lives of children and families.