Friday, August 26, 2005

Headin' for a weddin'

I have been on the road a bunch. Last weekend, college visits and time with family. Also got to see our house in Virginia (2 years and counting) and meet some of our neighbors. Then, this week was spent writing articles, getting ready for interviews about my work in progress book, and finishing up a bunch of smaller projects. Thus no posting for a bit.

Now, I'm in Chicago on the way to the first wedding of my eldest son's group of "Four Amigos"; best friends starting in middle school, all through high school and college. I'll get to see all four guys, all of whom I think of as sons, and all five of the Brinckerhoffs will be together as well, which is always a treat. Next week, I take middle son back to Ann Arbor. Public school starts for my wife and daughter on Monday. Summer is done and done.

But, of course, on the road I was thinking....for the 30,000th time, why do we need a garage sale/golf tournament/house tour, or fund raiser of any kind, to support a free medical clinic, or a homeless shelter, or a soup kitchen in the richest country in the history of the world? For that matter--why do ANY children in the US go to bed hungry every night? What are we thinking? Or are we just looking away, going on with our lives?

What started all of this brain depression was one of three essays my youngest child Caitlin wrote this week in preparation for Senior AP English. The essay assignment was to pick an important event from the summer (personal, local, state, national, or international) and describe how it affected the student emotionally and intellectually. Caitlin chose a bad car accident that injured 4 of her friends about a month ago. In that accident (which was the fault of a truck driver who slammed into a van, which hit Caitlin's friends' cars), a family of five was killed. Caitlin's friends were all injured to some degree, one was hospitalized and unconscious for 3 days. In recounting her horror and concern, Caitlin noted that accidents happen (and are reported) all the time, but she never pays attention, and wondered why? In admitting to not caring about some bad things as much as she should, Caitlin wrote that she felt most people acted the same way, and then asked "What is wrong with us? Why are we so selfish?"

I read the essay, and thought--well kiddo, sorry to tell you that it doesn't get better when you grow up. We still turn away, cluck a bit, and go on with our lives.

And that's why kids go to sleep hungry in a country with surplus food and supersized meals.


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