For me, July means Independence Day, barbecues, picnics, and vacations. It also means enjoying friends, family, and community. We get to go to baseball games, enjoy 16+ hours of daylight (in Washington), and celebrate our good fortune to be Americans.
I was talking with a college-age student yesterday. Her family had come over for a barbecue on our patio. She has reached a decision point in her education. She feels the need to decide what she “will do for the rest of her life.” I shared my perspective on the American experience. I have had 5 careers: home delivery service (milkman), cook, military service, aerospace engineer, and nonprofit leadership. One of the great strengths of our country is that we have choices. If we are unsatisfied with our lives, we can change them. For too many worldwide, choices are limited, and change is not an option.
Of course, our system is not perfect. If it were, there would be no need for Washington State PTA. The world is constantly changing. Our members’ needs are continually changing. Our job is to keep up with those changes. Our members and volunteer leaders work every day to make the lives of our students and families better. You build a community within your school by holding a family night. You do that by meeting with school and district staff to advocate for change. You do that by testifying before our legislature in Olympia.
This desire for growth and change coupled with the malleability of our system, makes me proud to be an American. We speak up. We make a difference. Individually and in groups, we change our government to suit us. We create the world in which we live.