53. Regarding Social Engagement pt 1


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Good Morning Families, today is Monday June 8, 2020 and it is now time for a moment of SEL.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

That’s how the Constitution of the United States starts. It’s very famous. It’s called the pre-amble. A preamble happens before an amble.

Our United States Constitution includes many, many wonderful things. Truly, and we are going to focus one aspect of them this week. However, before we get too far along, we also need to remember a couple of things. The leaders of the fight for American Independence, many of whom also authored the US Constitution, were complex people. Never let anyone sell you on these men as flawless geniuses whose only intent was enshrining our nation in greatness. They were far more complicated than that. For as sure as they fought and won independence for the American colonies of Britain, they did not extend the freedom they so desperately risked everything for, to others. Many of these men, including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson owned people as property. And that is essential knowledge so that you are never manipulated into believing that people aren’t complex. Even people spoken of as heroes. These men did great things but were not infallible. That is, just like us they carried flaws with them. As did our constitution, which continued to allow slavery to exist for three generations after it was signed and only after a civil war and the 13th Amendment. Our constitution is a great and living document and it deserves to be treated as such. After all, that’s what amendments are. They are fixes and additions to the constitution that keep it alive for this 21st century, just like they did for the 18th.

For more about our constitution you can visit the constitution center at www.constitutioncenter.org.

The constitution is a social management plan for how our country operates. It tells our government and our people, what and how our federal government works between its different branches and how it works with states. You should give it a read, it’s pretty interesting. Particularly the parts that outline what each branch of government can and can’t do. I wish our government officials would read it as much as they pretend to. If they did, they might make different behavior choices.

Okay, so here is something truly, truly great in our constitution. It’s called the Bill of Rights. This week we are going to be learning about the social emotional learning skill of Social Engagement. And in order to understand social engagement, you need to understand the first amendment to the constitution. Here is the first amendment to the constitution.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Those are the parts of things people are talking about when they say, free speech, free press, right to assembly, and the right to tell the government when they are not doing their job. These are very, very important things. In fact, there are many, many people all over the world, who do not have these rights in the places where they live.

It’s true, we should never take them for granted. That is why we should use them all the time and keep them alive. And here’s the best way to do that. Learn the social emotional literacy skill of social engagement. At the core Social Engagement is the ability to consider others and a desire to contribute to the well-being of a social group, or community.

And just so you know, this particular domain of SEL was developed right here in Washington State. It’s okay to feel civic pride for this. Nice job Washington State!

When you combine social engagement skills with the first amendment you can start to see how and why people are taking to the streets to protest these days. Whether you agree with what people are protesting, either the “reopen protests” or the “social justice protests” you can see people using their constitutionally protected rights. That’s a good thing.

This week we are going to talk about the many ways you can use your first amendment rights along with your social engagement skills. Because, if you’ve been noticing, many, many people have been out all over our city and our country, using both their first amendment right and their social engagement skills. And since this podcast is called Hear Our Voices let’s hear some voices.

((There are audio clips from some of the regional protests in the links above))

Thank you to all of those who shared their energy, and their thoughts with us today. We’ve got more throughout the week.

For the rest of today, think about how you might want to consider others. See if you can find ways to contribute to the well-being of a social group or community. It could be as simple as helping a neighbor, listening to a friend, or writing a letter to an elected official. Whatever it is, it’s available to you. You have the right to do it as defined in our Constitution and as defined by the biology of having emotion information.

Just so you know, this is the last week of our daily Moment of SEL until we return to school in fall. When we sign off on Friday, we’ll be gone until September. But don’t worry, we’ll be back swinging! Okay, until tomorrow, may your thoughts and feelings be with you.

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