Learning from Laughter and the Trees: He Comes with the Mountains

20180618_150922

Cedar at the Poor People’s Campaign action on June 18 in Detroit.

By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

“You have rocks in your bag.”

Stunned, I said, “it’s possible. I have kids.” I searched frantically through my bag that I had carefully packed that morning in hopes of getting quickly through security at the 36th District Court before court. I tried to gloss over the contraband tics tacs and pencil I had hidden at the bottom- necessities for keeping a 2-year-old silent in the court room that day. I can’t find anything. They wait, “Check another pocket.” Sure enough, there in the front, I find them. I pull out hands filled with mountain stones, Detroit River rocks, and pine cones all covered in sand that pours through my fingers. I hand them over to the security guard who doesn’t flinch as I apologize and she heads for the trash can. Continue reading

Raising Boys

20180722_114619By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann. Published in Geez Magazine‘s most recent issue on Gender Flex.

“Mommy, baby is tired. I need to put baby in the pack and walk,” says Cedar, my two-year-old. I quickly design a make shift baby carrier tying his baby doll to his stomach. He walks back and forth across the house and then stops and sways. After five minutes, he heavy sighs and says disappointedly “baby is still awake.” He walks on mumbling to himself about how baby needs his milk and how the baby is too little to drink water out of a cup and baby just needs his milk. Continue reading

Why is Grandpa in Jail?

33116241_10214353738810852_6880318968586829824_oBy Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

I wrote this as a children’s book for Isaac during the Poor People’s Campaign. He was very concerned about why Grandpa kept going to jail when we were also teaching about how we dont believe in jails and prisons. So, I wrote this to try to explain it to him. We printed it out and he and Cedar and Ira and their friend helped illustrate it as a birthday gift to my dad.

Why is Grandpa in jail?
We don’t like jails. We think they shouldn’t exist.

If people make bad choices, there are better ways to help them be better.
Talking.
Caring.
Paying attention to what they need.
Teaching.
Loving.

Locking people up for years of their life only….
Takes them away from their families.
Makes people feel lonely.
Takes them away from the sun and the trees.

It is a broken, sad system.

So, why is Grandpa in jail? Continue reading

How Do You Tell the Kids that Grandma Is in Jail for Resisting Nuclear Weapons?

H14_Ploughshare-activist-arrest-on-US-submarine-base3By Frida Berrigan. Re-posted from truth-out.org.

“Our grandma is in jail,” Madeline tells a woman wrestling a shopping cart at Target.

“She went over a war fence and tried to make peace,” Seamus adds helpfully. “They arrested her, and she is in jail now.”

“Where?” the woman asks, looking from them to me in disbelief and maybe pity.

“We don’t remember,” the kids say, suddenly done with their story and ready to make passionate pleas for the colorful items in the dollar section over the woman’s shoulder. Continue reading

Learning from Laughter and the Trees: Dear Trump #2. The perfect gift.

27545226_1517543381692953_9067731188216851540_nBy Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

There has been a small, weekly vigil happening across from Isaac’s school for a year now. It started when a young girl told a social worker at school she was afraid of her friends and family being deported. When the social worker asked her if there was anyway that we could support her family, the little girl said she would feel better if ICE could see that people cared. So, this small vigil is one attempt at that- to publicly say to ICE that we stand with our neighbors and that we are paying attention. There is a commitment to keep standing in solidarity until there is a justice immigration policy in place and children can live without fear. Continue reading

How Do I Reassure My Children About the Future When the Future Is Terrifying? An activist’s lament.

imagesBy Frida Berrigan, Re-posted from TomDispatch.com and MotherJones.com.

As a mother and an activist, here’s what I’ve concluded as 2018 begins: It’s getting harder and harder to think about the future—at least in that soaring Whitney Houston fashion. You know the song: “I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way…” These days, doesn’t it sound quaint and of another age? Continue reading

Learning from Laughter and the Trees: Loved by the Generations

IMG_1945By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

I was terrified for Isaac’s first day of school. Terrified he wouldn’t go. That we would see his tremendous stubbornness arise. Somehow, we made it. The thrill of the newness got him there. I woke up on Day 2 even more worried. The newness had passed. The daily reality would start setting in and the idea of staying home all day to play with me and Cedar would be hard to leave. Erinn had gotten an attachment to her bike so that they could ride the 3 miles to school each day. We hoped that the excitement of biking would help and that the exercise would help him with the long days of sitting and focus. But by Day 2, the excitement of the bike wasn’t enough. We started hearing “I won’t go.” I kept a smile on my face and a calm, upbeat attitude as my heart raced. I had been on the opposite side of his stubbornness and there had been times I had lost. It is a powerful force that only joy seems to be able to crack. We went downstairs with him kicking and screaming, stepped outside, and there…..was Grandpa. On his bike, helmet on, ready for a race. Continue reading