This morning the unthinkable happened. Many lost their lives at an Elementary school in Connecticut. A clearly troubled young man not only took his own life but the lives of many others...most of them precious children ranging in age from 6-7 years old. In his pain and anger, he inflicted the greatest damage and the most gut wrenching pain possible, on the most vulnerable people, little children. Families are shattered, innocence for all the survivors of this tragedy is lost forever, and emergency responders will forever be haunted by what they saw.
As all this unfolded this morning on the news, I was getting ready to go substitute teach at our local school where the staff and the kids are all people that I care deeply for and love. Shocked and dumfounded by what I was seeing and hearing, I just could not comprehend the "why" of the taking of innocent lives, especially of the children. For a brief moment, I was fearful...fearful of going to work. I realized that this tragedy could occur at any school, at any time. And then I thought of the kids, my beloved kids at the school I work at. Every single one of them so precious and I cried. The thought of losing even one of them like that is unfathomable, must less twenty. I knew at that moment that I NEEDED to be with those kids, my kids. I needed to hug them, tell them how precious and awesome they are all and how much I love them. I teach in a very small school district so I know these kids well and have spent years with them, I have even taught some of their parents, aunts and uncles. The staff there treats me as one of their own and to be honest, I feel like I am. I cannot imagine losing any of them.
Today I took just a bit of extra time to really look at each of the children and to appreciate their individual uniqueness. I was greeted upon my arrival with hugs from the kids and given more in the halls from children from other classrooms. I made sure to tell the kids how wonderful and awesome they all are and how much I love being with them. I was so thankful that they were being protected from knowing the terror of what had happened. Yes, we are a close knit group, like a family and we take care of one another.
Being a teacher is in my blood, it brings me great joy to encourage kids and help them learn. I never want to live in fear of doing what I feel I am called to do in life. If I do, then the evil that happened today wins and I will not allow that.