We can all use a little inspiration.

It was a long, hot summer.

And it’s going to be a rough few years, at least here in Kansas.

So, if you’re like me, you can use a little inspiration.

Think of this post as a sort of ‘chicken soup for the advocate’s soul’…if I was that sentimental.

And, please, add your inspirations.

We can all use some more.

  • Bill Clinton’s nomination speech at the Democratic National Convention: No, not really anything that he said, although I was fairly dumbstruck, listening to it from my phone the next day, at how he really can make complicated policy issues seem so easy. Can he teach my policy class? Or do my eulogy? But, no, what I think I was most inspired by was the redemptive story of his presence. How, really, we can make mistakes–even really significant ones, on a major world stage–and, if we hang in there and do enough good, we can come back. There is hope for all of us.
  • Awesome direct practitioners making social change happen: There are many examples of this, I know, but my favorite is probably my friend Vanessa, wife of my friend Jake, and all-around terrific person. She used to be a medical assistant at Planned Parenthood, and when, because of the perennial funding cuts and legislative attacks leveled against Planned Parenthood, prices for procedures and exams would increase, Vanessa would answer the frustrated patients’ angry questions with something like, “The valuable services you just received are threatened by politics. If you want to have a voice in that, I’ll register you to vote, right now.” One day, she registered 12 patients. She rarely averaged fewer than 6. She rocks.
  • Amazing students moving mountains in order to dedicate themselves to our profession: I have not one, but TWO mothers whose husbands are deployed in my foundation policy course. They’re raising children on their own, worrying about their partners, and still studying social work with all their dedication. One is also trying to get her Parents-as-Teachers chapter to engage in more advocacy, too. Wow.
  • Zach Wahls: My friend Melanie knows Zach and posted a picture on her blog of them playing piano together. For me, it’s better than a celebrity sighting. Can you imagine being the moms who raised this tremendous young man? Also inspiring: my own kids, who, when told that their nanny was marrying her partner, paused just a minute before nodding and asking if they could have Sprite at the wedding. Love knows no boundary, as long as there is special-treat drink.

Please share: what inspires you?

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