Monday, December 17, 2012

Held

I feel heavy today.  Since Friday's events unraveled, thoughts have flooded my mind about school safety, "what would I do?", how small my kindergartners really are, the bravery shown by educators, the evil that exists in our sinful world, the terror parents must have faced waiting to find whether their children were safe, the faith that parents put in our schools to safely house their most precious possessions, the choice made to target the youngest--the babies--in a K-4 school, and so much more.  My mind cannot process it all.  

My thoughts, of course, have also wandered to my personal action plan in my classroom.  Being a kindergarten teacher, my classroom lies very close to the front office and front doors.  What would I do?  How quickly could I react to an emergency?  How long would it take me to switch my thinking from teaching phonics to saving my students' lives?  How would I keep my little ones calm?  Should we hide?  Should we run?  The only answer I know for sure is this:  Would I risk my life for my students?  Without a moment's hesitation...Yes.  Why?  Because they are so, so small.  Their entire lives (minus five years) lie ahead of them.  They are the future--they are the good.  Save the children.

As any teacher knows, each year the students in your classroom become "yours" in many ways.  Your name rests next to theirs on rosters, field trip forms, class photographs, etc.  As teachers, we spend more time with these children during their waking hours than their parents do.  We learn their quirks, their favorite things, their favorite books, their dreams, their hopes, and so much more.  And above all, especially this year (teaching kindergarten), I have learned how truly innocent and helpless these same students really are.  They are completely entrusted to my care for the hours of the school day.  It is my duty, my job, to keep these small people protected--to ensure that they are safely returned to their parents each afternoon.

Did I completely understand this when I signed up for my first education courses in college?  No.  Did I really realize this when I took my first teaching position?  No.  I don't know that I fully comprehended this task until this past Friday.  I pray that this new found knowledge makes me see my students differently.  Perhaps I will be more patient, more loving, more forgiving in my classroom.  Simply because I know.  I know in a very different way than before.  I would risk my life to protect them.

I thank God for the teachers and administrators that showed so much bravery at Sandy Hook.  I pray God's peace and comfort rests soundly on the families who lost loved ones, and may He hold them in His embrace.  The words of a song entitled "Held" by Natalie Grant have given me great comfort these past few days when grappling with the "why?" questions.  I'll end with the lyrics...

Two months is too little, they let him go
They had no sudden healing
To think that providence
Would take a child from his mother
While she prays, is appalling


Who told us we’d be rescued

What has changed and
Why should we be saved from nightmares
We’re asking why this happens to us


Who have died to live, it’s unfair

This is what it means to be held
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive


This is what it is to be loved and to know

That the promise was that when everything fell
We’d be held


This hand is bitterness

We want to taste it and
Let the hatred numb our sorrows
The wise hand opens slowly
To lilies of the valley and tomorrow


This is what it means to be held

How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive


This is what it is to be loved and to know

That the promise was that when everything fell
We’d be held

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