October 2021: From Beth Fisher-Yoshida

Dear SPS Faculty,

There is something about the practice of naming things that has a couple of effects. It draws attention to whatever is being named. It puts a place holder on it or a tag so that it is more easily referenced. It also puts clear markers around it in order to differentiate it from what it is not.

In deciding on a topic for this month’s blog I did a little Google search to see what October is known for. Of course, the most well-known event in October is probably Halloween and all the associations that come with it. For sure, I did not want to focus on Halloween, enough said on that topic.

I was amazed at the variety of dates to be recognized for specific observances. There is the International Day of Older Persons (October 1st if you’re interested), World Vegetarian Day (also on the 1st), National Be Nice Day (on the 5th), You Matter to Me Day (on the 7th), and Global Handwashing Day (on the 15th). I wondered why we needed to make a special day to let people know that they matter to us? What are we not doing on a regular basis to communicate that? Do we really need a day, and only once a year, to remind us?

In looking deeper at some of the other titles I saw there was an acknowledgement of different kinds of mental and physical health ailments that plague people. There is the World Cerebral Palsy Day (on the 6th), World Mental Health Day (on the 10th), World Homeless Day (also on the 10th), world Pediatric Bone and Joint Day (on the 19th), International Stuttering Awareness Day (on the 22nd), and World Polio Day (on the 24th).

There are some days that address how we socially construct our worlds, and need these days to attempt to balance the playing field and right any wrongs, such as National Coming Out Day (on the 11th), Indigenous Peoples’ Day (also on the 11th), International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (on the 17th), and Global Dignity Day (on the 20th).

Then there are some that make me ask, “really?” There is Mean Girls Day (on the 3rd), National Taco Day (on the 4th), Global Cat Day (on the 16th), International Sloth Day (on the 20th), and probably one of my favorites, National Chocolate Day (on the 28th).

One that specifically spoke to me, being in the field of conflict resolution, is International Day of Non-Violence (on the 2nd). There are so many ways we can constructively disagree with others without diminishing who they are as people, or harming them physically. Practicing a bit more non-violence in our everyday interactions is a good thing. I am glad we are reminded of it even if it is only once a year.

Thank you,