As a teacher, I cannot sit back taking in all of the news out of Connecticut without posting my thoughts. Those thoughts are constantly drawn to the families, teachers, students, and faculty who have been so brutally subjected to the worst this world has to offer. I spent Friday and Saturday battling tears as more details were available. I know no one involved, but how can any teacher, parent, or compassionate human not feel deeply when he sees pictures of innocent children whose lives were ended abruptly, and at a place that is supposed to be safe? How can we not be impacted when we have such blatant evidence that evil exists?
I went for a run Friday afternoon with a friend, and she asked what, as a teacher, I would do in that situation. I have asked myself that same question countless times in the past three days. I don’t think any of us can say with any certainty, but I believe my ‘mommy adrenaline’ would kick in, and I know, without a doubt, I would do everything in my power to protect my students. As the stories of the teachers’ bravery come out, many seem surprised that teachers would go to such extremes to protect the children. Let me tell you, I do not know of any adult with whom I work who would not do the same thing. You see, we love your children. You might complain that I kept your child in for recess when you didn’t think it was necessary, or I give too much homework, or not enough, but when it comes down to the nitty gritty of teaching, what is important is that I care deeply. Teachers and parents might not always agree on the best way to handle children, but I hope parents know that we would all fight like hell for your kids.
I kept picturing my students’ faces this weekend, and I know the faith they have in me. That’s big. I truly couldn’t wait to see them this morning. I just wanted them to know that I love them. Really. I cannot imagine how the teachers in Connecticut will cope when they go back, nor can I imagine how scary it will be for the kids. How unfair. And then my thoughts go to the parents. No parent should have to bury a child, and when that child’s life ends so senselessly, it is that much worse. I think of the wrapped presents beneath their trees that will go unopened. The Christmas outfits that will go unworn. The stocking that will be left hanging. And I am sad.
We can argue gun control and mental health, but that gets us nowhere. On the news earlier, they had a story about a woman who had a card with money inside on her car when she returned to the parking lot after shopping. It said something about being in memory of a child who died in the school shooting, and that the only way to fight evil was with kindness. It said the giver had decided to do random acts of kindness in memory of those who had died, and asked the the receipient pay it forward. The woman was so touched that she decided to pass it on. That’s what we should do. Don’t argue about gun control or make this tragedy political. We all have different opinions; who cares. Let’s all become better human beings and reflections of goodness. Let’s make someone’s day a little brighter. If, through this horrific crime, we all become a little more compassionate, a little more accepting, just maybe evil will be defeated.
May God bless all those who lost loved ones, the children who saw things they should never have to see, and the faculty who will be going back to school ready to love those kids, and the community that will never quite be the same.