Sometimes, as a parent, you realize that you should have waited a few years to name your children. Like, in our case, we named our oldest Elizabeth; but, what became clear a few years later was that, …
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Sometimes, as a parent, you realize that you should have waited a few years to name your children. Like, in our case, we named our oldest Elizabeth; but, what became clear a few years later was that, given a second chance at naming her, we could have easily chosen “Grace.”
Why Grace? Because from almost the moment she could walk, she could dance. We put her in youth soccer for a season, but that wasn’t her cup of tea — every time she would start running towards the ball, it was with a ‘releve’ (a move up onto the balls of her feet) followed by a little hop-skip. She wasn’t very fast, but it always looked great.
Grace is defined as “simple elegance or refinement;” I think of grace as the ability to handle difficult and make it look easy. We say that of graceful athletes — they make very difficult movements look effortless. We also say that of people, those who deal with difficult other people or situations without losing their cool are said to have “grace.” When I think of grace,
I think of the late Princess Dianna, and now Princess Kate seems to following very much in her mold.
I also, happily, have lately been able to consider my employers at Jefferson County Schools as people handling this fall with “Grace.” In particular was one email sent to all employees describing the various processes through which we would be delivering instruction the year, and acknowledging that many families will be making decisions that effect both our communities and our bottom line. But the district’s advice was this: no matter which decision a parent tells us they’re making, we should answer “I know that is a difficult decision to come to, and I know you’re trying to do the best thing you can for your family, and we will do whatever we can to support your decision.”
In how many walks of life over the last six months have you seen organizations, governing bodies, or even individuals respond to the situation we’re all in with that sort of grace? I haven’t seen it much. Mostly what I’ve seen is self-righteous moral certitude disguised as compassion or logic.
Maybe Grace should be the template for how we all start to deal with each other. There’s a crazy thought.
These are, have been, and continue to be, unprecedented times we’re living through (boy, I can’t tell you how sick I am of *that* word). Nobody knows exactly what the right thing to do is. I mean, we’re starting to get some clarity, based on six months of fumbling about, but there’s still a lot of uncertainty. Imagine if our answer to those around us was, “I believe you’re trying to do the best thing you can for your family,” instead of what seems to be the default reaction, “You’re an idiot.”
I will acknowledge that that answer does nothing to preserve us from economic ruin; that answer will do nothing to put out the 100,000+ acres of forest burning in Colorado right now, or clear the skies of the constant cloud of smoke and ash; that answer will do nothing to save us from whatever fresh Hell is going to be visited upon us in September.
But, maybe, that answer will help us begin to stitch small pieces of our community back together, so that when all those other calamities effect one of us personally, there will be enough grace in the room to put together a scaffold of support to pull us through.
This is all difficult. Let’s work harder to make it look easier.
Michael Alcorn is a teacher and writer who lives in Arvada with his wife and three children. His new novel, “Charon’s Blade,” is available at Amazon.com, on Kindle, or through MichaelJAlcorn.com.” His opinions are not necessarily those of Colorado Community Media.
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