Martin And Me…

By Neysa Ellery Taylor

 We’ve – I’ve – got to do better. As a community, we all have to do better. I know you are thinking, “isn’t this a marriage blog?” Well, yes and no. I believe that strong marriages make strong families and strong families make strong communities. Today I am dealing with the strong communities portion. Here’s why:
Yesterday was a wonderful MLK day in Nashville. My family and friends took part in the MLK events at Tennessee State University (my alma mater). At the convocation, Dr. Steve Perry got in our asses. Literally. He laid out the Tennessee education system and called us all co-conspirators. And guess what? He’s right. Everyday I sit here with my pompous, M.Ed.-having tail and think “Well, my kids are ok because they are smart and they know I value education.” While that is partially true, Dr. Steve Perry reminded the audience that the best Tennessee kids are just the best scholars of the worst education system in America. And that just isn’t good enough. We’ve – I’ve – got to do better.After Dr. Perry verbally kicked my butt, I took my bruised posterior over to Vanderbilt University to hear Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) speak about the “beloved community.” He implored us all to be active, to take a stand for right in our community. To be champions of a cause. To write our congressfolks and let them know what we think about what they are doing. To vote. We’ve – I’ve – got to do better.So instead of telling you what YOU should do, I am going to tell you what I am going to do. I have to be the change that I want to see in the world, right?:
1. I am going to speak to people and smile more. That is so major for me. I type and I ponder. But actually smiling and speaking is something that I am definitely working on.
2. I am going to a school board meeting, not as a journalist, but to have my voice heard as a community stakeholder. I need to know how the decision making process for my school system works and then I need to work the system.

3. I am going to attend a neighborhood meeting and join a committee. Attending a meeting and complaining about stuff isn’t productive. It’s time for committee work.
4. I am going to forgive folks that I don’t like. It’s easy to be nice to and forgive folks I love, but folks I don’t like – well, I struggle in that area. But I am going to forgive and speak nice to those that have offended me.
5. I am going to be more present when with my family. No more checking work email, looking for a job, writing the next post while talking with my family. They deserve my undivided attention.
See 5 little steps. I know you are looking at the list and thinking “You really entitled this ‘Martin and me’ and that is all that you are doing?” And my answer is “YES!” See I can’t advocate for change anywhere if my own little piece of the planet is jacked up. So I am starting at my house. I am going to make sure that the lessons learned on MLK day aren’t forgotten a mere 24 hours later. I’m starting with me.Neysa Ellery Taylor is an integral part of the writing team here at She lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband, Chris, and their 4 children – Asyen, Maya, Preston, and Patrick. An Emmy-Award winning journalist, she hopes to share her passion for marriage and God through her writing. You can read more of her work