Like everyone in the nation and across the globe, I am devastated by the school shooting in Connecticut last week. This devastation felt especially hard in the education community. As I sat and watched the news, the toddler that I teach and care for on Fridays was safely asleep in his crib, peacefully unaware of the evil that can permeate the land. I sat in his living room sobbing; heartbroken over the fact that our youngest children were attacked and grateful for the teachers doing all that they could to protect the children.
Even in their own incredible fear, the teachers continued to put their children first. This is what teachers and other caregivers do every day. They put their children first. Day after day and year after year. And I will always be grateful for this. I will always champion and support this incredible love.
At the end of the day on that Friday, the toddlers parents came rushing in to the house, relieved that their baby was safe and spared from tragedy. I left among tears and gratitude for keeping their most precious baby safe. Then I went to an event with a set of friends not inside of the education world. Saddened beyond comprehension, I was hesitant to go, but was hopeful that the company of friends would help. Not one of them knew what had happened in Connecticut. Not one of them was sad or scared or heartbroken.
And I then felt so terribly alone.
I left the event early and went home and cried myself to sleep. The next day I took to Twitter for distraction and found a community full of sadness and fear and confusion. I found those people that I always find to remind me that I'm not alone in the feelings I have. Those wonderful and varied educators and parents that make up a global learning community. I later read @happycampergirl's candid blog post that you can and should read and felt as though it would begin to be okay.
Not right away and not all at once, but I will be able to help my broken heart heal. We all will slowly heal. We won't forget. We should never forget. But we will begin to heal.
We will begin to heal as we do when every crises and small moments of fear and sadness envelop us. We will begin to heal by doing good. We will continue to do the little things every day that push the darkness away.
For classroom teachers that means that you will continue to teach and inspire and protect and love your students. You will continue to do everything you do that makes your student's days a little brighter and a little safer. For administration this means that you will do what you can to support your teachers and students and to do it all in love and hope.
The small moments of love-the smiles, the hugs, the little notes to let each other know that we are not alone-these will be the catalysts to chase away the darkness.
And then we will continue, or begin, to do the big things that will further encourage hope and light. We will serve others in need. I often tell people that the reason I volunteer so frequently is because social justice is not an option, it is an obligation that we all must participate in. I believe this more than ever and have to have faith that in our large and small acts of social justice that we will begin to heal and that we will begin to enact change.
For if enough of use are able to heal and then bring that healing to others, think of all the change and hope that can arise.