Thursday, May 24, 2012

Ms. Burns reminded me of what matters most

Yesterday I heard an interview with Ursula Burns on NPR. In the conversation, she described how she grew up in a ghetto, but that her mother created a safe space for them inside, a space filled with expectations and possibilities.
. . . [I]n this environment that, you know, wasn't great when you walked out the door, she created an environment that was just fine inside. And she spent a lot of money to send my sister, my brother, and I to Catholic school. It's the best education that we could get at that time.

But when I think about it in hindsight, it was just fine. And I was never wanting for encouragement, that's for sure.
This was just the sort of thing I needed to hear, and at just the right time, too. I'm struggling to do the right thing for my children, and I recently had a conversation in which I was talking about how the schooling options and environment that the neighborhood provides is hitting all the right spots for my children. I was voicing a concern, wondering if not sending the children to private school was in some way diminishing their chances of success. But their home environment, the best education available, and a serious sense of encouragement and expectation are more important than the zip code in which one learns. Thank you, Ms. Burns, for reminding me of this. And thank you NPR for airing such a wonderful interview.