In wake of the tragedy of Newtown, CT, I have spent lots of time reflecting upon the range of reactions as I try to make sense of the situation. Such a tragedy hits home to me because I am an educator and it is one of many situations that which we must be conscious. Furthermore, I have two school-aged daughters that I send off to school each day. But as panic and worry continue to fill the air from concerned parents and school officials alike, I approach the upcoming week with a peace and calm. It could be said that this is due to the fact that I am directly affected, but there is a different source of my peace.
Above all, I believe in God; but in this world of religious diversity and atheism, it is not sufficient justification to put all at ease, so I continue. I am at peace in knowing that when I arrive at school, I put my whole heart in all of my students’ safety and success, without compromise. I treat my students as my own children, and will defend them to the last. Until the actions of my own children’s teachers prove otherwise, I have the same faith in them. I have heard parents comment about heightened reservations of sending their children off to school, and if tragedy strikes, not being there in their children’s last moments. But in the event of such unfortunate event, I would hope that the care that I place in my students would bring some sense of peace in the hearts of parents amidst a tragedy. However, the previously stated notion is easier said than realized because of the seemingly growing divide among home and school, parent and teacher. I recall the numerous times of being accused of disliking students due to my consistent use of consequences for those who fall short of the high expectations I have established in class.
Not making light of the tragedy, but I do hold it as a real picture of a person who has no regard for a child or any individual; very much different than the uncaring quality that a parent tries to place on a teacher because they demand that a student live up to his or her responsibilities. I do not write this as a time to vent frustration, but to offer a suggestion to bring peace to parents who have to send their children to school on the Monday following such a horrific tragedy. It is time for parents and teachers to build a greater relationship in order to build trust that when a child is at school, they are under the same level of care as they would be at home, and they will receive the same level of comfort and encouragement in the time of need or tragedy.
As parents, we cannot ask to be there at a given moment, but we can have peace that our children are surrounded by love when they are away. If you do not have that confidence in your children’s school and teachers, stop at nothing to establish that. Put yourself in the place of being the protector of upwards to 20 to 30+ students in a given place and upwards to 100+ overall, depending on the size of the institution. Think about the heart it takes to blanket that many students in security and love, and you can find how to build a relationship, trust, and confidence in your children’s teachers and school. Even more, it will create a peace that in the event tragedy might strike, and you were not there, they were close to loved ones and were not alone.
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