the peace of quiet activism {guest post Tara Pohlkotte}

Today I am grateful to welcome Tara Pohlkotte to share her heart and and words. Tara and I met through the community at Imperfect Prose, and I have loved her poetry and storytelling every since. She writes my heart in this post and maybe yours, too. Enjoy, friends.

Top image source: via suzannah {the smitten word} on Pinterest

I live in a small Wisconsin town, built on the backs of teachers and mill workers. So when the political climate of Wisconsin became unsettled, our town rose to protest. Teachers, students - the town at large showed up to lend their voice to justice and their bodies to the strength of the movement. The vibrations of this unrest made its way under the door of my house where I was tethered to my young family inside.

With each day that my Facebook feed filled by my peers taking Madison, the local news staying hot on the story, I began to feel irrelevant – like I didn’t fit in with this time. Not only had I traded in my low-rises for more suitable mom jeans, I was afraid I had traded in my mid-twenties passion and activism for Dora the Explorer and potty training. I wanted desperately to keep my finger on the vein of my generation. I was afraid that I was losing the pulse.

Then one night as dinner was being prepared, my five-year-old son caught the news coverage of poster board signs raised, voices chanting and sleeping bags at the Capital rolled out. Later, as I pushed hair back from his forehead to place my goodnight kiss he asked, “Mama? Why are those grown-ups so angry?”

I sank my weary body onto his bed, and racked my brain for how to condense the larger issue down to what was really being said. “Teachers are really, really important because their job is to teach you kids. But they feel like our government is trying to take things away from them. They are hurt. They don’t feel like their voice matters, that to the government, their jobs don’t matter.”

There were his large brown eyes; looking to me to form his first opinions of the outside world as I laid myself down beside him. I told him there was another side too. People who were doing what they thought was right for the people of the state, that many times grown-ups disagree with what’s best. But it’s very important to understand that every voice matters. What you do is important, whatever it is. I whispered in his ear how much he mattered to me and how I love these questions of his and that I want to always talk, even and especially when I wouldn’t have the answer.

My hand was on his light switch when he replied, “Maybe those people need to talk to their mama too.” There among the night-light shadows thrown across the ground, I understood. I had traded in soapboxes for lullabies, megaphones for whispers. Through my voice and actions I would teach my children to listen to others, to trust their instincts and their voice. I would cultivate citizenship that centers on compassion, on peace. And this type of activism, this pouring your life into another’s – it would last long after the poster boards faded and the sleeping bags returned to the attic.

My finger didn’t need to stay on the vein of this generation; my blood ran through it.

Tara Pohlkotte. 
writer at
mother of two sweet souls. 
lover of simple beauty. 
connect with Tara via Facebook or Twitter.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...