Columnist Lindsay Sabadosa: When children educate adults

Posted: 09/23/2021 13:21:49 PM This summer, I did something that I hadn’t done in a long time: I was able to have a good time with a...



Posted: 09/23/2021 13:21:49 PM

This summer, I did something that I hadn’t done in a long time: I was able to have a good time with a toddler. My daughter was not available for her usual concert, so I agreed to watch my cousin’s son for a few hours. What could be more wonderful than spending a few hours with an adorable and cuddly little child who would let me read him stories, right?

Fast forward to the neighborhood playground where I chase said toddler in a circle as he knocks over all the little tree stump seats under a large sign that says “Please don’t move the chairs” . I pick them up. He knocks them down. It takes me an embarrassing time to change course and pick up said toddler before I straighten the chairs, thus ending the cycle of absurdity.

This afternoon was a reminder that while society talks a lot about how we should educate children, we forget: children educate adults too. Children remind us of the lessons we have learned, but can sometimes be overlooked in our hectic world. Grace and courtesy. Share. Take care of your friends. Listen.

Yet it goes beyond children serving only as a reminder of those lessons that were passed down to us long ago. The example of the small tree stump chairs is a good one because it highlights how much children, especially toddlers, remind us to be flexible and how sometimes changing course is the best way to achieve a desired result. .

As we enter another fall where COVID will play a prominent role in the news and in our lives, flexibility and the need to change course will be more important than ever. At the state level, we will have the opportunity to invest billions of federal dollars in our communities in a way that, the history books tell us, we have not seen in a long time. This means that we will have the opportunity to address some of the issues that plague our region.

Housing must be at the forefront as it becomes more and more unaffordable to live in our region and, frankly, almost impossible given the lack of apartments and houses available. A March 2021 report released by the UMass Donahue Institute, Way Finders, the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, and the Metropolitan Springfield Housing Study Advisory Committee showed that half of all tenants living in the Connecticut River Valley are overburdened with costs, which means they spend more than 30% of their income on housing.

Even those with rental vouchers, a valuable resource that helps keep people housed, struggle to find housing as the gap widens between market rates and the value of their voucher. The current lack of supply, both rental and purchase housing, is pushing up these prices.

These funds should also be used to determine how best to respond to future crises. Our community came together to talk about the planned Resiliency Hub, which is meant to help meet the needs of homeless people, but is also envisioned as a place for the community in times of climate emergency and public health crisis. .

Our world is changing and we know that storms will become more frequent as our seas warm. We know this is not the last pandemic and we will have to adapt to survive. Creating spaces in our community so that we can be better prepared for the next event will be essential so that we can keep people safe, fed and safe no matter what comes our way.

Yet just like me running around in circles to straight chairs, we won’t find solutions to any of these problems if we keep doing the same things we did in the past, especially if we don’t take the time to learn. past mistakes. With game changing money to spend, we need game changing solutions.

We will need to change laws and regulations to make our communities denser, allow smaller homes, and demand greener construction. We will need to bring the communities most affected to the table, listen to them and let them lead. Tenants should feel valued and have the same voice as those who own their homes. Homeless people will need to have their say and a place at the table. It will be uncomfortable and there will be growing pains.

Ultimately, however, if we practice the art of coming together and learning from each other, we can end up with a plan that allows our community to thrive and grow for decades to come.

Lindsay Sabadosa is a resident of Northampton and the State Representative for the 1st District of Hampshire. She can be reached at columnists@gazettenet.com.



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Newsrust - US Top News: Columnist Lindsay Sabadosa: When children educate adults
Columnist Lindsay Sabadosa: When children educate adults
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