Ken Beaton: I was reminded

Ken Beaton

Ken Beaton

Big deal, it’s December and I don’t have any Christmas spirit! Certainly, I must have a little Christmas spirit somewhere.

No, I told you. There’s not one molecule of Christmas spirit in any of the billions of cells in my body.

I haven’t attended any Christmas festivities. Bah humbug, let someone else stand in the cold to sing Christmas songs and blah, blah, blah. I could have witnessed the creative decorating by a State of Nevada Buildings and Grounds’ employee, Phil Nemanic. Phil spent countless hours including weekends decorating the Governor’s Mansion over the past three months. Bah humbug was my comment.

In years past I’ve experienced a “guilt trip.” You know what I mean; I should do this activity and I should do that activity. How can I do both activities at the same time? It took me a long time to learn, “Never should on yourself.”

Maybe if I wrote notes on Christmas cards to friends, I would drop my bah humbug attitude.

A week ago, I wrote my Christmas letter for 2017. Mine are not the usual Christmas letters you receive where their children are perfect and Rhodes Scholars saving the world. Their family is so rich they’re mentioned in the Panama Papers and everything is “perfect.” About two decades ago my Christmas letter began, “Before you read another word, you’d better sit down!” I received several comments that my letters are “refreshing real.”

After addressing about 10 Christmas cards and enclosing a note with my Christmas letter, my attitude had not improved. I decided to shift gears and check my email.

After reading at my regular email folder, I clicked on “promotional folder.” An International Rescue Committee email was first. My adult daughter, Kathy, and her husband, Matt, gave my wife and I a rescue gift of a year of schooling for a girl. Kathy wrote, “I know you appreciated this donation made in your names last year. I think the world is an even scarier place this year and the more girls we can educate the better place this world will be! Love, Kathy and Matt.”

The next paragraph was about the International Rescue Committee’s accomplishments. When crisis forces families to make difficult decisions about schooling for their children, often it is young girls who are kept at home and denied a chance at a better life. In places like Afghanistan, Congo or Lebanon, including girls in schools is critical: Educated girls become smart, strong women committed to leading their communities toward stability. In Afghanistan alone, we helped educate more than 13,000 girls in 2015.

FYI, I’m a retired business teacher and my daughter is a Massachusetts high school science teacher. We have witnessed education making positive changes in students’ lives. Do the math, if you educate only males, you are utilizing only half your available resources. If you educated young girls, everyone in your society wins. Networking and nurturing are two positive traits females bring to their communities.

As soon as I read Kathy and Matt’s email, it was similar to flipping a light switch. I was no longer thinking about me, me, me. Somewhere a young girl is going to be educated for a year. My hope for all the girls being helped by the International Rescue Committee is they will be a positive improvement to their community. Every educated girl has two responsibilities. First, work with others to improve their community. Second, help educate one or more girls, with geometric growth, everyone wins.

Kathy and Matt’s gift was perfectly timed by a much higher pay grade than mine. I was reminded, “Ken, stop feeling sorry for yourself.” A good day for me is when I’ve done something to make your day better.

FYI, Heifer International uses donations to start families feeding themselves while earning a living. For $10 you could purchase a share of one sheep or $20 would purchase a flock of chicks. I purchased a female pig because she can have a litter of eight piglets twice a year, 16 piglets. It would not take long to establish a “drift of pigs” to sell and/or feed their family.

Now, have a merry Christmas, or else!

Ken Beaton of Carson City contributes periodically to the Nevada Appeal.


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