As I think about the impending new year, it occurs to me that all of us have resolutions that we can easily make, and possibly forget as the year progresses. We all do it. We are serious about our commitments at first, and then, somehow, we fall into old patterns.
As a retired teacher, mother and grandmother, my resolutions have changed since the tragic shooting at Newtown. Conn. My resolutions this year will not include the ten pounds I want to shed, nor will it included my narcissistic need for self-improvement. This year I am resolved never to forget the teachers, parents and grandparents who find themselves so horribly involved in the mourning process caused by one disturbed gunman.
I look at my grandchildren with such gratitude that they are safe. I think I am going to listen and treasure all that they bring me because their happiness is so vital. My five year old grandson has had so much to say to me this week about his experiences at school. Somehow, I think I have listened more carefully.
I can't help but remember some of the times I have been faced with loss while I was a teacher. The loss of Elizabeth Glaser and her little daughter to AIDS; the loss of my head room parent when she was killed in a car crash while my second grade student, her daughter, sat in the back seat; the loss of a little seven-year-old boy when he was accidentally hit in the head by a baseball and consequently died; the loss of a forty-year-old mother riddled with cancer who was an anesthesiologist in the birthing section of a nearby hospital; the loss of grandparents and pets and dear friends... however, the loss of innocence due to unnecessary gunfire seems impossible for me to understand.
The one safe place other than home, where we as teachers work tirelessly to make our students feel safe, has been stolen from us. The fire drills, the earthquake drills and all of the other measures taken to keep our children safe mean nothing when mental illness presides. I would like to think that all of the teachers at that school were heroes long before the gunman entered the school.
The preparation that teachers make for the purpose of creating a loving atmosphere for their students is far greater than parents might think. The tireless daily efforts of embracing their little children comes from a place deep within the heart and psyche of the teacher.
I have asked myself during this past week to try to make some sense out of this horrible event. Each time I sat down at the computer all I was able to do was to cry. My mind was so overcome with this tragedy that I was not able to process what I wanted to write on my blog. I believe I am finally clear. For the new year I want to have hope again that this will not happen to anyone, no less little defenseless children. I want to have hope that some of the high powered guns will be removed from the public. I want children to be able to claim their rights to be safe at school. Oh yes, I WILL remember what happened one week ago. I am going to fulfill this resolution and I will pray that the tortured parents and families in Newtown will find peace.
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