A lesson learned from

our smallest citizens

I am a substitute teacher here in Independence. Friday I had a good experience I want to share with you concerning the state of helpfulness in our city among our smallest citizens.

"The score: One against helping another student and 15 in favor of it."

Friday, I was substituting in the new elementary school, Cassell Park. I was with a large group of kindergartners outside during recess. One little boy was very sad and walking around sobbing and not playing with anyone. After a bit, I asked a young girl if she knew what was wrong with him. She just said that "he is a trouble-maker."

Outside by the playground equipment there were a lot of small chunks of ice, which were melting quickly. Some of the kids were picking chunks up and throwing them. Not necessarily at each other, but another teacher asked them not to do that. I asked a boy, who had a chunk in his hand to bring it out on the asphalt and stomp on it. He did, and some others saw that and they brought them up to me to have me watch as they "stomped" on their little chunk. Then there were many running to get a chunk and have me watch as they stomped on their piece.

I then asked, "I wonder if anyone would get a chunk for this sad little boy to stomp on if he wanted to do so?" Immediately 15 children rushed to get a piece, brought it back to where I was standing with this "trouble-maker" (as one girl saw him.) I asked him if he wanted to stomp on a piece? He stopped crying and started stomping. And one after another of the children offered him their piece to stomp on. And everyone was happy at that moment.

I assumed from that, that most people don't want to hurt others, (some don't even know how to act around others) and most little children are sad when others are sad, and will do a lot to make them feel better, if given the chance, or encouraged to do so. Then I got home and saw the news about Trump, McConnell, Pelosi and others. Maybe we need a good ice storm in D.C. and invite everyone to come outside and stomp on ice chunks and laugh with each other.

I just wish for these little children a future where they are encouraged by their leaders to say nice things about each other and to continue to share with those who are hurting (for whatever reason.)

Joe Bayless, Independence


We should all strive

to fight for justice

when we see injustice

In this divisive time, it is heartening to find an issue that might unite us. After all, who can be against “liberty and justice for all” – an essential cornerstone of our democracy. We cannot take these hard won freedoms for granted. We must vigilantly guard them or they may begin to erode. And when liberty and justice erode for one person, it endangers us all.

In many states, prosecutors and other lawyers are seeking justice for those who may have been wrongly convicted. May we join this effort to bring justice forward for all of us. Those working to right past wrongs may face opposition from some attorney generals (i.e. in Missouri), from some of the judiciary, etc. Let us write and speak in favor of retrials when evidence indicates justice was not served. It’s similar to being in Washington’s post-Revolutionary Army – armed with a pen and voice. Our fight is the same “Liberty and Justice for All.”

Anne Achten, Eugene, Oregon