I feel that it is only fitting to write a few thoughts about the 20 darlings & 6 heroes who were victims of a horrific tragedy just a few short days ago. I read a quote a few minutes ago that said “when grief is much, words are little.” It perfectly sums up my thoughts…I’ve been near speechless regarding this loss since I first heard of it.
Friday was a pretty normal kind of day in my own kindergarten classroom. I did have an inkling of trouble in the world outside my own four little walls from initial Facebook posts, but I had no clue of the nature or extent of the devastation. My mother-in-law texted me after school to check on me, and that’s when I first started looking at articles and trying to grasp what was happening.
All I could do was sit in my classroom and cry. Sit there and look around at the scribbled drawings and forgotten jackets and all the marks of little 5 & 6 year old hands and just cry…knowing that all those miles away there were similiar classrooms in chaos. Classrooms where the innocence had been ripped away. Where children had been forced to see things they should never have to see; taken from families who had dropped them off with waves and kisses just hours before. It is nothing but heart breaking and gut wrenching.
It is hard…all but impossible…to digest. The Holy Spirit has been busy in my life this weekend, intervening to God on my behalf….because I find myself at a loss as to what I should even pray. I’ve grappled with my owns feelings of fear and anxiousness…worried about what my students might say today, asking myself the same question so many kids are asking…”Could that happen here? To me?”
All of that thinking, paired with the very little watching/reading I’ve done regarding this tragedy, has led me to find a jewel among the rubble…a tribute I can pay to those whose lives were lost. And so, as I hear talk of the events that unfolded that day, I’ve decided my contribution to the conversation will be this…
Never before in my career have I ever been more proud to be an educator. We get knocked down every day – in the media, by parents, by society, by lawmakers, by ignorant citizens…by people who tell us how we should do our job, by people who think all we do is complain about not making enough money, by people who think we are in it for the summers off and “vacation time.” We struggle to do our job effectively for every student, to fill the gaps and needs they have, to provide for them in ways we are far from trained in with little to no resources. We sacrifice our time, our money, our families, our sanity, our health…
And then, on Friday, we sacrificed our lives. To read of the heroic teachers who hid their children, then stayed out in an open classroom to throw off the gunman….of teachers who tucked kids away, then cupped their little faces and whispered “I love you” so that gunshots would not be the last thing they heard….of teachers who grabbed children wandering the halls and pulled them to safety, who ushered lines of little ones out the door…all the while instructing them to close their eyes and follow their voice to shield them from the horrific scenes around them.
Teachers who exemplified exactly why we do this job…for the children. It’s all about the children, and the true, deep, sacrificial love we have for them.
I applaud the teachers and administratos for the bravery they displayed that day; I will honor them by loving and teaching and protecting my kids just as they would have done for their own if they were still here, and I will remember them for the sacrifice they made. A sacrifice that they certainly didn’t plan on making when they woke up and got to school that day.
Oh yes. And I’ll say this…
My God is so good. He was good on Thursday, He was good on Friday, and He is good today. We live in a world that is wrecked by sin, a world where 20 babies can be gone without cause or reason, a world of grieving parents and angry spectators and questions. A world of confusion. But my God is a God of peace, and a day is coming when He will restore this earth…a day when He will wipe all tears from our eyes and ease all questions racing through our minds.
My prayers are with the families, teachers, community, and law-enforcement personnel who are in the heart of this tragedy. My prayers are with our nation and government leaders as we move forward. My prayers are with the media, with our schools, and for our souls.
Join me, won’t you?
KEEP CALM & REMEMBER