Trying to move forward after yesterday. I've had many conversations with friends and family as we all try to figure out what to do, how to help when we feel helpless, how to grapple with fear, anger and absolute despair. I would be lying if I told you that I went to bed last night with any hope left in my soul. But then this morning I began to sift through my emails and my conversations with all the teachers I have spoken with and the word that continues to come forward is love.
And then I think about our schools and the love, the heart, the soul that has been stripped from them. And then I think about our society and the love, the heart, the soul that has been stripped from it.
And I watch the corporations, the media, the politicians, tell us what is good for us, attempt to desensitize us, attempt to create workers - not thinkers who feel love, pain, anger, frustration - and have the tools - the voice - the power - with which to deal with these feelings, and make choices and decisions which help our democracy thrive - with soul.
I watch the testing cycle in my own school. One cycle ends, another begins. These mandates cause us to forget what we know, these mandates leave us no time to do what we know - all of it, one more strategy to take the heart out of learning and teaching. I see the wear and tear on the teachers as they try to bring heart into their lessons in the midst of these mandates. I see the beauty of learning that seeps through the cracks and grows and flowers amidst a country that attempts to deprive it of rain.
But then I go back to yesterday, before I knew about Sandy Hook. In the morning I watched some of the children get their weekend bags of food to take home. The children were quietly brought out of the classrooms to fill their backpacks without the rest of the children watching. The adults spoke to them in soft tones as the children filled their bags and commented on how heavy they were. I watched and I saw the kindness, the compassion and the love for these children. So much love.
I thought to myself, I would like President Obama to witness this moment. This moment of poverty in action - it's brutal rawness in the light of the holidays and the spirit of renewal and hope. I wanted him to see the way the love wrapped around these children.
And then Sandy Hook. And the rawness turned to such pain, so severe, that I had no words, no resources, no way to comprehend it.
My mind raced, as I am sure yours did. So many thoughts and no answers. And emotion so strong that clear thinking seemed impossible.
Education, schools, teaching, learning, it is all about humanity - helping each of us to be human, to have compassion, to be part of society and all that could and should make this world a better place.
And I will be damned if I will allow this to be stripped from us.
If there was ever a time for educators to demand more for our children the time is now.
If our schools were allowed to have heart. If our schools were given the resources to grapple with poverty and all of the mental and physical trauma that rears its ugly head in the face of no food, shelter and clothing, imagine how our society might begin to become more loving, less violent and more willing to fight against those who attempt to destroy our souls. Imagine how empowered everyone would be as they knew they were safe, knew they had options, knew they had a voice and could use it to make their world, our world, a better place.
I wish I could do more for Sandy Hook. I feel helpless. But I will do what I can for our society today and tomorrow, as a mom, as an educator and a citizen of a country that has lost its way.
Blessings to you Sandy Hook. Much love, much heart, much soul – all to infinity.