I took a break from blogging after the election. I spent time grieving. I spent time reflecting. I spent time taking positive ACTion (and will continue taking positive ACTion in the days and weeks and months ahead).
Today I listened to President Obama's last Press Conference as President of the United States. He opened with a statement about the important role of a free and vibrant press. He said, "I spent a lot of time on my — in my farewell address talking about the state of our democracy. It goes without saying that essential to that is a free press. That is part of how this place, this country, this grand experiment of self-government has to work. It doesn’t work if we don’t have a well-informed citizenry, and you are the conduit through which they receive the information about what’s taking place in the halls of power." (Quoted from the full transcript from the New York Times.)
There are many things the recent election has illuminated for me. One of those things is how much I value a free and vibrant press. I now subscribe to several news sources, and I encourage others to do the same. I have also implemented a new practice in my home, whereby I ask my teenager to read and discuss one credible news article a day. Hopefully this practice will support his development into an active, engaged citizen and a critical consumer of information. I've been very proud of the way my son has risen to this challenge I've placed before him, and his insights and opinions have challenged me to be a more critical thinker as well.
As President Obama answered the last question at the Press Conference, he acknowledged that parents generally like to brag about their children, then he gushed about his own daughters, saying, "But man, my daughters are something. And--they just surprise and enchant and impress me more and more every single day as they grow up." It is no secret that I am a big fan of President Obama; his delight for his children is one of the many reasons I admire him so.
I too like to gush about my children, and my annual holiday letter is one way that I do that. Although it seems that fewer and fewer people send annual holiday greetings, I treasure this tradition each year. Both the receiving of cards, letters, and photos from friends and family near and far, and the preparation of my own annual update. Each year I try to provide a relevant update embedded in some creative format (here are examples from 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015). This year I leaned into the "news" theme:
In the coming year, I will continue to give my time and attention to the local and national issues that compel me, and one of the issues I will more actively advocate for and support is a free and vibrant press. A logical extension of my longstanding advocacy for Strong School Libraries and information literacy, don't you think?