Yesterday I was a judge in our local elementary version of Battle of the Books, or EBOB, as we call it. What fun to watch the children, those fourth and fifth graders so full of confidence, energy and school pride. They fretted. (So did their parents.) They cheered. (So did our whole room when we completed one unanticipated rare perfect round.) Imagine. Cheering with the children about books. Wish you were there to witness it.
Just four days ago I was on Capitol Hill sidestepping another kind of battle going on in our country. It was a glorious time to watch democracy at work, yet that wasn't my purpose of being in Washington. I was at a conference that celebrated Global Families and on a visit to my senator's office to talk about funding for students in cultural exchange programs. That was my battle, keeping a global emphasis in government spending during tough economic times. I have the same conficence, energy (well, maybe just a tenth of it) and pride as those EBOB's from yesterday. I cheered the many global families I met at the conference. I fretted over losing funding for programs that bring our world back from the brink of physical battles.
When I was in the midst of raising teenagers, my mantra was, "Pick your own battles." I'm clinging to that wisdom now as I watch others battle with their words. Sometimes I agree. Other times I disagree. I lurk. But there comes a time when I must step up and pick my battle. I came to that time this weekend. Maybe I didn't accomplish much, but I did leave behind a seed in someone's mind.
The next time I face a battle, whether it's about books or about cultural exchange, I'll be on the front lines. You can count on me.