Written By: Robyn Shulman
During my years in the classroom, I never referred to my class as my students, but rather, my kids. When I was teaching, a principal once stated that I cared too much about my kids. In light of the tragedy of Newtown, I cannot imagine one parent, administrator or teacher who can care too much.
Many people thought I was overprotective with the kids in my classroom. I was the teacher who counted heads 3 times before we left every field trip, made everyone holds hands at the zoo, and said “no” to situations in which I felt student safety was compromised. There were other teachers who laughed at me, kids who were annoyed that I acted like their mom, but I didn’t mind. I experienced a lockdown one year, called parents when I noticed red flags, and I even caught one of my kids chatting with a grown man online. I most likely saved her life that year, as she was planning on meeting this person after school.
The Newtown tragedy brought back many memories for me. I was greatly aware that I was in charge of our most precious gifts; children who were loved so greatly, and it was my job to keep them safe.
This tragedy has affected so many on different levels. We are a nation confused, angry, scared, lost and forever changed. However, we are a strong nation, and we must choose hope.
With that said, I will choose to hope, and this is my personal list:
This will never, ever happen again
The beautiful little faces and names of the children will never be forgotten, nor used to push any political agenda
The heroes (the administrators and teachers) who lost lives will never be forgotten
The families in Newtown will one day find a place of peace and tranquility
We have learned something about the status of mental health and can make active changes
We are able to notice those who are crying silently and need help, and to choose to act on behalf of their needs, rather than discard them
We must cherish every moment, second to second, and live our lives giving love, helping others and maintaining gratitude
We understand that most of our teachers and administrators will do anything and everything to keep our kids safe and we need to cherish them. I also hope that our world realizes that most who choose the education profession go into it to make this world a better place, and simply because teachers really care about kids.
However, I hope that this tragedy causes every single family to love their children more, and I wish that love causes a universal chain reaction all around the world. One more hug, one more smile, dad home early, more talks at the dinner table, putting the I-phone down and really listening. I hope it causes every parent to kiss their children and hug them a bit more before they go to school and when they come home. I hope parents hug their kids for no reason, other than being able to do so. Hold their hand, wipe their tears, and let them know they are so greatly loved.
I hope we make more time for our kids, close our addicted computers, get off of Facebook, fight less with our spouses, and make meaningful time for family and friends, in person, not in only a virtual world. I hope for more love, more love and more love.
If anything should come out of this for those who were not personally connected, may it be that those angels caused a domino effect of love around the world. Love that will move across mountains, sail across oceans, and walk quietly through forests. Yes, I hope for a domino effect of more love and kindness.
May you all find peace, love and tranquility during this time.