It's a frigid winter morning. You wake before dawn, stumble down your stairs, and bump up the dial on your furnace. You put the kettle on to make some tea, and then, you fold yourself--pajamas and all--into your coat, bracing against the bitter wind as you open the front door to grab the Sunday paper.
Imagine how you feel when instead of finding the newspaper there, you're greeted by newborn baby instead. The baby is wearing layers of clothing under her infant snowsuit. She is swaddled in blankets. She is sound asleep.
And there is a note: "I can't be responsible for her any longer. Please help her find a good home."
Can you imagine?
Now, consider this:
Are you to blame for the fact that this infant was left on your doorstep? I'll assume this is quite unlikely.
And are you to blame for whatever circumstances this baby and her parents may have endured prior to her being left on your doorstep? This may be unlikely as well.
Despite the fact that you may not be to blame for this baby's situation, are you now responsible for remedying it? Well.....yeah. Yeah, you are.
This is the conversation we're about to begin in this week's book club session. If you're reading Hacking School Culture: Designing Compassionate Classrooms, you may want to join us.
How do we distinguish blame from response ability? And how do we do that while taking good care of ourselves along the way?
Sometimes, the answers to questions like those I've posed above aren't quite so clear. This is especially true when we're discussing issues like race and privilege. I've learned quite a bit by watching how my friend Peter Anderson thinks and behaves. He's one of the teachers we feature in Hack 4, and I can't wait to connect all of you.
Take a peek at the video to learn more, and then join me on Wednesday for a richer discussion and a formal introduction! And if you'd like to connect in the mean time, come find me on Twitter or join our Facebook group. Ellen and I would love to chat with you.