When I was a relatively young adult and new mother, my world became pretty narrow. I was wrapped up in care giving for my son, carrying the responsibility of being a stay-at-home wife, and trying to recreate the June Cleaver world for my family. It was easy to forget the world beyond my tiny view.
When my son joined the world of academia and became a kindergartener, I knew for sure our lives were getting ready to change. What I didn’t expect was the beginning of a huge life lesson.
Both my children have been fortunate enough to attend Meadow Lane Elementary. As a newbie parent, I was approached to join the Parent Teachers Association. I eagerly paid my dues and anxiously awaited the first of the room parties, believing that was pretty much the purpose of the PTA.
As I soon discovered, PTA is so much more than planning, really awesome, parties for children. The PTA brought family and school staff together to build a community where our children would flourish. The funds the PTA raised contributed support and encouragement to teachers while giving them additional tools for educating our kids.
It was beautiful to see groups of women and men of all different races and economic backgrounds cooperating for a greater good.
As my eldest child progressed through school, so did my involvement with the PTA. I remember several times sitting in a meeting thinking “This group of people could run our country and balance our budget.”
Many years have passed since that first-hand look at the power of cooperation, and I was so fortunate to have experienced the beauty of what happens when people work together for a common purpose or benefit. I’ve seen it occur in the Lee’s Summit City Council. I’ve seen it in the Rotary Clubs and the Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce. It’s happening right now within the Police Department, businesses and churches as they collaborate to make an unstable neighborhood a safe and fun place to live.
In the words of President Bill Clinton, “We all do better when we work together. Our differences do matter, but our common humanity matters more.”
Jackie Knabe is a member of the Lee’s Summit Character Council and a Lee’s Summit resident.