New Voices, New Verses, New Writers

August 7, 2020

"Running with the Cows"

Kaye Walker

 

Hi Everyone:

I seem to have so many thoughts and ideas bouncing around in my brain that I often wonder if I have written some of it already. Oh well. I guess you will just have to bear with me.

I want to talk about heroes. We use social media all the time to talk about our “Wheaties” box heroes. Serena Williams, Michael Phelps, LeBron James, etc. Then there are the recent, unwilling heroes, those that devote their time, even their lives, for social justice…racism, poverty, mass shootings. On and on.

             

And, of course this week, John Lewis. He joins the greats such as Martin Luther King, Harriet Tubman and…Viola Liuzzo (Look her up, interesting read!) And for me, the most personal heroes are the young ones, the teens, college-age and many more recent ones. There’s Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg and the others that survived the mass shooting at Stoneham-Douglas High School, in Parkland, FL. The heart-breaking, heartfelt speeches during the March 4 Our Lives in Washington, DC, on March 24th, 2018. I watched and heard Martin Luther King’s 10 year old granddaughter speaking to hundreds of thousands of protesters saying “enough is enough”. One hero among so many. All young... just young kids, who just went to school, work, soccer or football practice or games. Perhaps they had dance or music lessons…much, much more.

 

Why do I bring this up?

 

When we identify heroes, we may not necessarily think of young people except to blame them for dropping out, zoning on x-box or other media. Trouble-makers, on the streets, shooters, non-motivated, lazy, pick your stereotype. But we just might have it all wrong. Some might say it’s education. Some might say it’s parenting or lack of respect…”not the same as when I was a kid.” Of course not. 

 

Today’s child has a schedule; there are music, dance lessons or gymnastics. Play dates are scheduled. Of course, there is school, after school practice, whether it’s swim, track, football, basketball. Then dinner and maybe a quick nap. Then there is the inevitable homework through really late night hours... Five days a week. Many of these activities include not just school and night games, but travel teams with weekends on the road, motels and fast food. Also, this is not just during the school year but during summer as well... Crash...Start over on Sunday – late. Maybe church, a little extra sleep, or just getting home from who knows where? Then, of course -  chores and  hopefully a healthy family meal and finishing up undone homework. Most teenagers say “There just is never enough time.”

 

I know there is much here to digest, but we do need to listen to these young people ...walk in their shoes. We are living in a scary world of global pandemic and riots. National struggles with unemployment, businesses closing, school vs. virtual school or just staying home. Many have other family struggles, issues, and so much more. We must honor and respect our children and young adults.These young people are our heroes. They are fighting in courageous, challenging, and personal ways.

 

I told you I have all this bouncing around in my head. I guess it is because I have to look at what I know…My own grandchildren:

 

 It all started with a phone conversation this morning when I talked to an old friend in Florida and she asked me about my grandkids and whether they had any “hobbies” to keep them busy. Whew!! I wish I had said: ”Pretty much.” I have one who trains for track every day by “running with the cows”.

I have 9 grandchildren, 6 of whom I see regularly. Every single one of them has already faced some very challenging, even seemingly insurmountable events. From broken bones threatening a college basketball career to serious outside pressures affecting their personal goals. Some struggles, I know they would not want me to share. However, I do have permission from my youngest granddaughter to share a little of her insight and spirit adapting to this pandemic. A State and Jr. Olympic swimmer and track athlete, as of March has, like so many others, not had school and all that goes with it. So…to keep up her spirits and stay in shape for swimming, it became necessary to provide the team with wetsuits to swim in the Bay (thanks to her coach!).

And when I asked about running she said she is keeping up. I asked her how on earth she finds safe places where she lives, to run? She glibly answered: “I can drive now, so I just find a good country road to run on and “I run with the cows”. Now they even know me and I talk to them as they follow me.”

 

                                    “Yeah. Pretty much.”

                                    “I run with the cows.”

-- Take a moment to identify a "young person hero" who has persevered through troubles and inspires you to keep going.

-- Who do you know "runs with the cows"?

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