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Are you grateful?

Are you grateful for your body? When you think of your body and the abilities it gives you, what comes to mind? The ability to see? To talk? To hear, touch, walk, reproduce life, eat, drink, taste?

While each of our bodies is unique, and each may excel or fail us in different ways, I think most of us are grateful for the ways in which our bodies help us to navigate and understand the world.

Now, what if your body were diagnosed with cancer? Would you sit back and think about all the amazing ways your body has served you, and decide that in order to remain grateful for that service you should simply focus on the positive and not get wrapped up in all the negative aspects of dealing with cancer?

Of course not.

If you were truly grateful for your body and all its amazing abilities, you would take seriously the cancer diagnosis and do all within your power to destroy the cancerous cells multiplying within. While the cancer diagnosis itself may be absolutely devastating to you, ignoring it would not help your body. And accepting and acting upon the diagnosis would not be inherently negative. Seeking a treatment would not invalidate all the positive abilities of your body. In fact it would show true appreciation and gratitude for your body to act on the diagnosis and get the help you need, so your body could be made healthy and strong again. To ignore the cancer would be the true act of ingratitude, as that would ultimately destroy your body and all of its abilities.

What does this have to do with our schools?

There are people in our community who say that pointing out the political issues in Murray City School District is an act of ingratitude and negativity. They say we should focus on the good in our school district and community, and we should simply show our gratitude for the positive. They say we are hurting the community by pointing out the problems.

But I know that’s not true. I truly love and value our Murray schools and community, and because of that I am willing to take the hard step of acknowledging that we need help, we need change. Because I seek the unity and success of our schools, I am willing to point out where we need to improve. I am willing to acknowledge that our district, teachers, families and children are being divided in the name of identity politics. Friendships have been broken. Children are suffering. Parents are worried and leaving the schools. Teachers and students alike are troubled and feel like they cannot speak out due to fear of retaliation.

Intersectional identity politics in our schools are a cancer of division to our community. Healing cannot happen if communication is suppressed. Issues cannot be fixed if they are not openly acknowledged and discussed. I know that it is only through honest acknowledgment of our problems that we can overcome them. And that is what I want for Murray City School District!

If you love Murray like I do, please be willing to help our community by acknowledging the issues and seeking the solutions that will help unite us. Let’s stand against identity politics in our public schools. Let’s stand for academic excellence and political neutrality. Let’s show love and gratitude for our children by making our schools a place where EVERYONE feels truly safe and like they belong.

That is what I want, and as a school board member that is what I will seek.

April Wilde Despain

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