Remote by Choice. But Chosen
For this week’s With Mission in Mind, I invited FXW parent Marsha McVicker (Max, Grade 7) to reflect on the start of the school year as a Remote by Choice family.
“Frustration. Anger. Friendship. Gratitude.
Those are the overwhelming feelings that both Max and I have as we embark upon this new school year learning Remote by Choice.
For my family, learning remotely has been fatiguingly frustrating. As an entrepreneur and a single mom by choice, I felt stretched before the pandemic. Now everything feels close to impossible because I must keep a twelve-year-old engaged in his education while simultaneously calming the nerves of employees, clients, vendors, and investors. The irony is that I run a company that helps working parents all over the country set up learning pods and identify tutors. I myself have a great support system, yet it is still hard with a preteen who keeps hacking my tech blocks so he can watch YouTube during Social Studies. I am hopeful Max will put those skills to good use some day.
The anger Max and I feel does not stem from being Remote by Choice; our anger is rooted in the persistent racism that exists in this country. Personally, we have had people spit on us, refuse the use of a bathroom, and friends inadvertently dismiss the micro-aggressions we experience daily.
Thank God we have our FXW Family who “get it” and get us. From our first moments on the OSP Campus a decade ago, Max and I felt at home. Fellow parents quickly became friends that evolved into the family you choose. Through sickness and health, our posse has rallied to support us in ways that our biological relatives could not. And that friendship circle has only continued to grow through time, classrooms, conferences, sporting events and parties.
I have chosen to stay at FXW not only because of this “family,” but also because of the community-at-large. I am very proud of the determined efforts around creating a truly inclusive environment that is focused on taking action against racism. I have taken many of the resources from the Equity and Justice Community Bulletin and re-posted them on my company’s app that is accessed by 55,000 people across the country. Those posts have had just as many click throughs as our other services – which says a lot. People want to get involved and do it a manner that works for them, and FXW helps all of us to stand up in the face of hate.
From FXW’s Grade 7 and 8 Stamped: Racism, Anti-racism and You Book Club this summer that educated both Max and me on the side of U.S. history that is not frequently shared, to the ongoing resources found this summer in The Equity and Justice Community Bulletin, to classes and tutoring, FXW’s staff has put forth a gallant effort to keep us both connected and engaged. I appreciate all the energy and thoughtfulness that goes into re-imagining a curriculum and not shying away from tough conversations.
I have a profound appreciation for all of FXW. Thank you.” —Marsha and Max McVicker (Class of 2022)
When asked to contemplate their experience thus far as a Remote by Choice (RBC) family in our community, and whether or not they feel connected to our mission from home, the aforementioned sentiments were those shared by Marsha and Max. Upon my first read of Marsha’s reflection, several thoughts immediately came to mind, but believe it or not, the one that was most prominent was PRIVILEGE.
Any FXW family or faculty member—regardless of ability, age, ethnicity, family makeup, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, etc.—possesses some degree of privilege. Like America, we must Do More to create spaces where everyone can bring their whole selves to the classroom and the boardroom; if nothing else, the pandemic has made it painfully apparent the privilege and benefits of being connected to a community such as ours.
The Daily, a New York Times podcast, recently aired a segment entitled The Sunday Read: ‘Children in the Shadows’ with a focus on homeless children and education which gave me plenty to consider when reflecting upon my family’s now 19 years at FXW. Samantha M. Shapiro, the author of this podcast, refers to schools as “anchors of life” and makes it abundantly clear that remote learning for homeless students makes learning, well, a nearly remote possibility.
When FXW chose us and we, in turn, chose FXW, we chose to be connected—in-person or remote—to a caring and committed “anchor of life.” Thank you, Marsha, for reminding us that even in the midst of anger and frustration, we can operate from a place of gratitude and use our privilege to serve the greater good.
—Kendall Mallette, Director of Mission Integration
Dismantling Racism in My Family of God
In the effort to dismantle racism, I understand that I struggle not merely against flesh and blood but against powers and principalities – those institutions and systems that keep racism alive by perpetuating the lie that some members of our family are inferior and others superior.
Create in me a new mind and heart that will enable me to see brothers and sisters in the faces of those divided by racial categories.
Give me the grace and strength to rid myself of racial stereotypes that oppress some in my family while providing entitlements to others.
Help me to create a nation that embraces the hopes and fears of oppressed people of color where we live, as well as those around the world.
Help me to heal your family making me one with you and empowered by your Holy Spirit.
Adapted by Debra Mooney, PhD from Pax Christi