I have to admit, I was touched by President Obama's remarks on Sunday night. The line that keeps resounding in my head is one I've heard from others in the past, "we know that much of our time will be spent groping through the darkness, so often unable to discern God's heavenly plans. There's only one thing we can be sure of, and that is the love we have for our children, our families for each other.... We know that's what matters. We know we're always doing right when we're taking care of them, when we're teaching them well, when we're showing acts of kindness. We don't go wrong when we do that."
And that's so interesting to me, because about a year ago a friend of mine at the after school program said basically that same thing, "Even when things are hard and we don't know what to do, we can cling to the things that we know are true. Like loving the kids. It's never wrong to love one another."
I know that I've clung to that through this past year, when students don't want to do there homework, when I'm not sure what's next in life, when I get confused, I know at the very least, if I love those around me, at least that then is good.
Since everyone has a child, knows a child, and/or was a child once and also has been to school, has seen a school, and/or has watched an after school special, everyone was touched by Friday's tragedy. So the question that's ringing in all of our ears is, "can we honestly say that we're doing enough to keep our children, all of them, safe from harm?"
The sad thing is that the answer on Friday was no. And the sad thing was that the answer on Thursday- regardless of whether Friday was going to come or not- was no, too.
How many kids in America go to bed every night hungry?*
How many are falling behind in the achievement gap?**
How many teens struggle with depression?***
Why are the bathrooms locked in between classes at a certain small urban middle school?****
And the list goes on and on and on....
So let's love and let's work hard to find a way to keep even one more person safe, to help even one more child learn how to take care of themselves and others, or to help even one more person through.
I don't pass these kinds of things on a lot, but I want to end on a positive note and some of these are really cute:
To everyone who has lost, my prayers and thoughts. I can't even begin to understand what it must be like.
* 16 million. Or, 1 in 5.
** 8% of students in poverty graduate college by age 24. Oh yeah, that's basically that 16 mill that are going to bed hungry every night, too. (PS 8% is not a lot. It's about 80% in children not in poverty).
*** Suicide is the third highest cause of death in teens, right after accidents and homicide.
**** Because students were being initiated into gangs between classes.
***http://www.nmha.org/index.cfm?objectid=C7DF950F-1372-4D20-C8B5BD8DFDD94CF1 and http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001915.htm
**** The security guard at the middle school where I did my observation placement.