Tuesday, October 23, 2012 • 4:05 AM Comments ()

The Power of Talk--and Telling, Tuesday Three

posted by Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Over the weekend, I wrote about a Planned Parenthood initiative to get parents to talk about sex with their teens. One of the themes offered by Planned Parenthood is that you don’t have one talk—you know, the talk—with your kids. You talk, as in more than once, as in when things come up or before they come up. You talk. That’s how life really goes; the process counts. The act of talking counts. You don’t simply get to hit the notes or the poses without practice or process. You can’t say certain things once and expect them to be enough. Life isn’t a series of mountain summits you are airlifted to in order to see the vista. You get what I’m going for here.

This is why my community awes me (once again). A group of people—community members, theater folk, and educators—began to talk about how they might respond to an event that jarred our community really with the goal not of any judgment or to rehash but to encourage talk. Three days of events kick off in Easthampton on Thursday beginning with a free performance of Donna Jenson’s show What She Knows followed that evening by a community conversation—and then two more events the following days.

Secrets can be okay

I guess this is a good moment to share three things I’m grateful for, this community effort being one of them. I am ultimately a believer in the power of company—when she share words, when we break silences, when we are simply holding another person’s experience as important. Two other things I feel grateful for include my daughter’s amazing preschool community; she goes to Sunnyside. I’ll spoiler my forthcoming newsletter entry with one mother’s “sunny” thing about Sunnyside: that the teachers take what most annoys her about her child and sees those same things as strengths. The third thing is that some days in that little window of time after school but before preschool pickup, I find a kid or two doing homework while I work and we experience this companionable silence together. It’s such a simple, small pleasure.

Two more to share, along with What She Knows, are my friend Mara Superior’s Obama White House in the window of pinch gallery on Main Street. I wrote recently about Mara’s political work. And I am a big fan of pinch gallery, including these mugs—conversation starters! While I’m on the political image theme, how about these Family Planning stamps? If it was a big deal to mention Planned Parenthood in a debate, can you even imagine these stamps appearing at your local post office today? I wish I could buy some—and plaster an envelope with them—just because.

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