...in Flint that is...
"You live where?" "Are you crazy?" "Isn't that the murder capitol of the world?" "Aren't you worried about the safety of your kids?" "Isn't the economy there the worst in the nation?" "What about the schools?" "I thought there weren't any jobs there!"
I'm not gonna lie, there are some difficulties in living where we live. We have a lot working against us. This city has been kicked while it's down over and over and over and over. Crime is high and the police numbers are pretty low. Jobs are scarce. The schools aren't great.
There's something about the will to survive that gives a community a certain passion, a certain fight and drive that are lacking in places where circumstances might not be as tough. Shared difficulty binds us together in a way that is hard to explain.
Not to mention.
I have found a lot to love about this place. First of all, I love the people. So many of them give me inspiration with their hope, with their ingenuity, with their kindness. We have found many people in this place who love us and believe in us, and that is hard to put a price tag on.
Sure, the Flint schools are not doing that great. But, it's amazing what people who believe in and love children can accomplish. The charter school movement has been a huge boon in this community. My own kids have benefited tremendously from a charter school that has dared to look at Flint's struggles and say, "Yah, but, those kids are valuable. They represent all that's good about our future." Then, there is the amazing Flint School of Performing Arts that sits in the cultural center less than a mile from my house. It's amazing that we have it in this place, but it is one of the biggest and best conservatories of it's kind in the nation. My children get to learn there. I get to teach there. Amazing.
Despite the fact that I sometimes fall prey to the "grass is greener" monster for a day or two, I love this place and I'm staying. We have fought for it long and hard, and we're not gonna stop now.