With every news story I read, every detail I hear, and every victim’s name that I read today, I just keep thinking, “Is this real?” I know it’s real. I know that it happened. I still just don’t want to believe it. Our schools are supposed to be safe havens of learning. A place where kids can grow, explore, and dream. Our schools are not supposed to be places where tragedies like this one occur. This kind of stuff is never, ever supposed to happen.
When we all return to school next week, our buildings may remain the same, but things will be different. We’ll look differently at our schools. We won’t see our curriculum or programs. We’ll see the people. Colleagues. Administrators. Students. People who are our family. People we spend every day with who care about each other, who we know would have done exactly what those courageous teachers and administrators at Sandy Hook Elementary did to protect their children. We’ll look around and realize what we have in front of us, and think about how grateful we are to have it. We’ve been given a new, sobering, perspective on how quickly things can change.
May we always honor the memories of those who lost their lives in this tragedy by never, ever taking for granted what we have in front of us. Treasure your students, support your colleagues, reach out to people who need it, give back. Constantly remembering that it’s the people in our lives that truly matter most of all. Remember the community of Newtown, Connecticut not only in your thoughts and prayers, but in your every day actions.
Updated: This week, when we return to class and kids ask what they can do to help, encourage them to find a Random Act of Kindness to complete in honor of Newtown. Why not start this at your school? Create a paper chain, in Sandy Hook Elementary’s school colors and see if can reach all the way around your school. A reminder to our children that there is good in the world, and a reminder to Newtown, Connecticut that they are in our hearts.