As good as our country is, it still has problems. Looking at all the injustices can overwhelm me. But what would happen if we all do something to fix what’s broken?
This post is part of the Five-Minute Friday quick write hosted by Kate Moutang. Join us each Thursday night on Twitter (#FMFParty) for fun and fellowship, then grab a pen and start writing when the prompt goes live!
What Exactly IS Agency?
“Who can define agency,” I asked my students.
“Um. Like a detective agency?” one of them asked.
“Let me use the word in a sentence, and then tell me if you think it works,” I said. “For example, when you eat in the cafeteria, you have no agency.”
“Nope. Detective agency wouldn’t work at all.”
“I realize this isn’t an easy concept,” I told them. “But see what you can come up with.”
“Do you mean we don’t have any choice?” someone asked.
“Yes. You live at a boarding school, and you don’t have a lot of agency when it comes to what you get to eat.”
“We’re not gonna get a lot of control until we grow up,” another student added.
“Exactly. Here’s another question. Do you like it when someone tells you what you need, or would you like the option to tell someone what you need?”
“What do you mean, Mrs. Ojeda?”
“If someone says, ‘I know what those poor Native American’s need, they need to just get jobs,’ how does that make you feel?”
“Right. When you stop accepting what other people say about you and how to ‘fix you,’ and you start telling people about the problems, you use your agency.”
“We can do that?”
Agency Means Listening Before We Try to Fix What’s Broken
“Yes! You NEED to do that. Otherwise, people keep trying to fix what isn’t broken and make you feel worse in the process.”
The bell rang and I rushed around to stamp planners. As a teacher, it feels like the past school year has brought out all the broken in our country. I feel overwhelmed when I think about how to fix what’s broken.
But our class discussion on agency made me realize we all have a part to play. While the world’s attention rests on the injustices, the brutality, the inequalities, we need to do our part to fix what’s broken.
We have a simple part to play: We need to close our mouths and listen. If we confuse ourselves with God by thinking we have the answers, we have a problem. We need to listen, really listen to those we want to help.
Because if we barge into the sacred space where the marginalized give voice to their opinions, we’ve made it about us and not about them. That won’t fix what’s broken. I could get depressed about all the bad in the world, or I can learn to listen.
I can do my part to teach my kids about agency, and make sure their voices get heard. What’s your part?IF we want of ix what's broken, maybe we need to listen. #antiracist #socialjustice Click To Tweet