We Can Be Better

On Facebook, I just saw a photo that someone else posted which I will not repost that was a shot of a sign outside of a McDonald’s in some location that says “We support Chick-Fil-A. Now Boycott Us.”  While I’m not positive of the exact location of this one McDonald’s, since I know who posted the photo, I suspect it was from a small town in east Texas.  On my way to the Houston airport today, I passed two McDonald’s that did NOT have this sign posted.But people are “liking” this photo that was posted, and all I could do was look at it and feel so very sad. Not sad that I’ll indeed be boycotting McDonald’s (haven’t had their high-fat, high-calorie food in a long time, so in all honestly that wasn’t a hard decision); but sad that THIS was the message they felt needed sharing.I saw two parents crying in an airport today because their flight to Germany was delayed and their adult child who is there is now dying of cancer. This McDonald’s could have put up a sign saying we donate part of our income one day a month to cancer research. That would have sent me through their drive-through window.  (I know the Ronald McDonald’s House does much to support families dealing with cancer and I bet if we check United Way giving McDonald’s does well in that area, too.  But that help does not undo this wrong.)

In a school in Georgia two weeks ago, a teacher came to me at then end of the day and thanked me for all the words of encouragement for what will be — in this time of more kids in classrooms with fewer materials — a hard year and said her husband — a preacher of a small church — had just left her for another woman (those good Christian values there) and she was now trying to support her two children and herself on her teacher’s salary and she wanted to get books for her classroom because she knew her students were coming from homes where books weren’t valued nearly as much as football. “But times are a little tough for me right now. Do you know of grants I might apply for?” She wasn’t judging. She wasn’t angry. She was putting the needs of others first. Seems that as school begins, this McDonald’s might have opted to put up a sign about how they will be supporting local teachers by providing in-class libraries of 500 children’s books to go into each English/language arts classroom of the schools in their community. That would have certainly gotten me into a McDonald’s to find something there that at least looks healthy.

Ten miles from my house, a little over a year ago, a fourteen-year-old hung himself one day because he could no longer take the daily bullying he faced each day at his school. His suicide was not singular. The daily roll call of gay teens who are bullied to death is beyond shameful. Bullied by straight kids. Straight kids who think they have a right to be hurtful and mean. Straight kids who call gay kids terrible names and tell others to not sit with them. Straight kids who tell them they are wrong for being who they are. For simply being who they are. Of course, that mindset is learned . . . somewhere.

Sure would have been nice if this McDonald’s — perhaps all — had put up a sign that said, “At this establishment, you’ll find that we respect ALL people. We value ALL people. Chick-Fil-A can choose to hurt others, but here at McDonald’s, we choose to be better than that.” I’d be there daily, probably falling in love with that fish sandwich.

Does this one sign represent all McDonald’s?  I highly doubt it.  Actually, I can’t believe it does.  I suspect that whoever is in charge of all things McDonald’s has no idea what this franchise owner put on this sign.  I’d like to know, though, that if those in the corporate headquarters did know, what their response would be.  I suppose they could say something about that being the sentiments of one franchise owner.  I’d hope they’d say that this hurtful statement does not represent the company and that McDonald’s does not discriminate.  That’s what I hope.I hope that because in a world in which we could accomplish so much, so very very much, if we told each person “You Matter,” if we helped each person believe they are valued and respected, if we could convince others that loving is always better than hating and that supporting is better than condemning, we might become the country our Founding Fathers had in mind when they penned “All men are created equal.”We can be so much better than we are. And it can start with how we react to signs that appear in our own communities, with hateful words we hear and do not stop, with “that’s so gay” language we let slip by.  We can be better.

7 thoughts on “We Can Be Better

  1. Hello! Could you send me the school address of the teacher who needs $ for books? Thanks! Pat Delzell
    P.S. I just finished Penny Kittle’s class at UNH.

  2. Hi I just wanted to know if you know of any professional development to help improve vocabulary in Pre K3 and 4.

  3. I appreciated so much your blog about your daughter’s first grade teacher. This one not so much.
    A man who leaves his wife and family for another is not a Christian, so please don’t sarcastically same, those good Christian values….
    And Chick-fil-a’s owner has a right to say what he believes, just as you have a right to say what you think–which is what you’ve done. The people at CFA show respect and serve ALL customers. I’ve yet to visit one that asked whether I was gay or straight or purple or green, so your wrong assumption that they disrespect people doesn’t fit with some of your other writings. CFA didn’t hurt anyone, so give it a rest. I am a Christian and I have friends who are Gay and Lesbian. I wish they weren’t, but they choose to live that lifestyle. Do I think it’s wrong? Yes, because the Bible teaches that. Do I disrespect them or treat them badly? NO! Because the Bible also speaks to that. So please don’t lump all Christians together. And I won’t lump all gays and lesbians together? Deal?

  4. Kylene, I think we can all do better too. I was brought to your blog from the next post and loved it so much that I forwarded it to my teacher friends.

    I find your comment disturbing. I am sure that you do not have gay and lesbian friends. If you were truly their friend, you would know that they did not “choose” their lifestyle. The issue that people have with Chick Fil-a and others who take the stance that LGBT are wrong and their love is illegitimate is simply discrimination. It is the same as not letting women/blacks vote or allowing slavery because, as a nation, we are saying that these people do not deserve the same rights as the rest of us. If you believe, speak, and/or vote that these people are not entitled to the same rights, you are discriminating. You are the straight kid telling them they’re wrong for being who they are. If someone told you that you were not a woman and because you chose to act like a woman you are going to hell, you would feel so confused because YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE. To tell someone how they feel and who they are/not is absolutely arrogant and condescending.

    Dogs- I don’t “disrespect or treat them badly” either. It must take a great Christian to treat people so fairly.

    Adulterers- ask them if they’re Christians? I’m sure a good number are and some are drawn even more to it after their indiscretions. Aren’t Christians supposed to forgive and refrain from judging?

    I feel really sad for you and the people you share your OPINION with because you are doing society a disservice. I pray that you aren’t a teacher.

    Sorry for the rant, Kylene. I’m obviously not a writer so please excuse any poor grammar or lack of vocab:) I just got into this conversation with one of my good friends. I was so shocked and saddened. I’ve known her for 3+ years and have met her gay ‘friend’ and would have never thought she had those views. I still love her and only hope that she can open her mind and heart. I do understand that it can be hard to think differently than what you’ve been taught your whole life but come on people!


  5. I’m a retired elementary school teacher with grandchildren ranging from college age to second grade, and this touched my heart. Every teacher I know is as excited about the first day of school as their students are, and they love all of uthe children in their class. I have as many loving memories of former students as I hope they have of me!

  6. Kim,

    Listening requires understanding and comprehension the same as reading. I’m sorry you don’t understand how people can love and befriend others who are different but not approve of their life choices. I can love my friend who tells a lie. I can love a friend who chooses to engage in an affair although I know it’s wrong. I can love my friend who, as an adult, chooses to have premarital sex though my beliefs are that it’s wrong. I, as well as Karen, can love and befriend those who are homosexual even though our belief system says it’s wrong. Where does our belief system come from? God, who very clearly says it’s wrong by calling it an abomination. Some of us can separate people from the sin whether the sin is lying, cheating, stealing, or having a homosexual relationship. We know that all fall short and sin. If we didn’t love and befriend those that sin, we and others wouldn’t have friends at all. It would be ideal for a website that I went to for professional learning to focus on academics, strategies, and materials; things to help me become a better instructor than I am; instead of politics and morals. Those come from home and church.

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