Little people, big inspiration

November 3rd, 2011

The fastest way to charge my batteries and sharpen my focus is to spend time with children. There is no substitute for their energy, innocence, and capacity and desire to learn. It reminds me that the decisions we make today matter for many years to come.

Yesterday I had great fun visiting the Moss Street Children's Center. For more than 40 years the center has provided childcare services for the university and the community. Seven years ago the program moved into its beautiful facility at Moss and 17th.

I met the teachers and staff, some who have been there for nearly 30 years, as well as many of our wonderful UO students with work-study assignments.

Moss Street is a model center in many ways, providing a safe, nurturing environment and three meals a day. It must be comforting to our students who have children there, knowing they’re in such good hands.

Inspiration came quite unexpectedly from one of the books I read to the kids, “Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes.” Pete walks and sings a happy song about his white shoes. Pete then walks through some blueberries. He regards his now-blue shoes and keeps walking, singing “I love my blue shoes.” Next he walks through mud and they turn brown….you get the idea.  The kids know the book well and sang Pete’s happy song to me loudly whenever we got to that page.

At the end Pete the Cat tells us the moral of his story. It’s a message that resonates and applies to my work every day. “No matter what you walk in, keep walking along and singing your song. Because it's all good.”

My sincere thanks to Moss Street director Becky Lamoreaux and all the staff, teachers and student workers, to the parent who left me a kind note, and to Lucy and Anna who drew beautiful pictures for me. It’s all good, and it’s just what I needed.


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