Tuesday, December 18, 2012
For the Children and the Teachers . . . .
By the time I finish my posting this morning, I'm betting this YouTube video will have been shared among nearly a million viewers.
So, yes, it will go viral, as it so much deserves.
I sat watching it over and over this morning, and the tears flowed, like they have so many times and from so many million eyes since last Friday.
Since then, I've pondered, like so many others, about what one can do to honor the young father's (Emelie Parker's) wish when he gave his statement to the media Saturday night.
Some good must come out of all this, he said.
And, so much has already happened, along with a lot of harsh debate, trying to arrive at the blame and much of it reducing itself to the usual finger pointing.
On Dec. 20, 1984, our house burned down. It's a tragedy our family will never forget, but whenever I reflect, I recall very little time being devoted to the negative side of such a tragedy.
Instead, our energy focused on absorbing the magnitude of the loss and on how we were going to move forward in our lives.
The majority of our thoughts associated with the fire, however, involved the multitude of good and kind hearts who rallied around us.
That remarkable experience has taken us forward and always reminds us of how the generosity of others strengthened us at our time of need.
In short, a lot of good has come from our family's tragic experience.
I could not help but think of the wonderful Sandpoint community while watching weekend news accounts and the interfaith service in the idyllic Connecticut town.
Newtown is a lot like Sandpoint, I thought.
Same wonderful spirit, same brand of giving, loving people.
There are Newtowns and Sandpoints all across this nation. And, in those communities, people so want to do something, anything of good to come out of Friday's despicable act.
As a proud retired teacher, I can remember my own scary moments with kids. And, I'm sure every teacher I know could tell similar stories.
Across this nation, every day, teachers try to do their best when kids are not at their best.
For the most part, educators continuously and courageously work their magic with kids---both the troubled and the well-adjusted--without fanfare.
Friday's events felt very personal for me, as I'm sure they have for all teachers across this nation.
And, so we all have shed tears for the beautiful children and for the teachers.
Through those tears, I have arrived at a simple idea which could have long lasting, productive effects.
Why not show nationwide support for our children and teachers in honor of those who died at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
For example, we have a wonderful organization here in the Sandpoint community called Panhandle Alliance for Education (PAFE).
The organization raises thousands of dollars every year to support creative learning projects, conceived by our teachers, for our district's students.
It's the end of the year when folks like to give gifts to charitable causes.
Here's an opportunity to give a gift to your local educational institutions and specify that it be in honor of the teachers and children who died Friday.
And, you can even do so with each individual who died in mind, thus making your donation tangible---a certain amount to honor each child or teacher. Maybe $26 or $260 or, if you're rich, $2,600.
Surely, most communities in this country have a nonprofit designated for education; if not, talk to your local educators for ideas of how donations could be made to support students and teachers in honor of Sandy Hook.
It seems to me that this kind of support, multiplied across the nation could be one of the most long lasting, productive and valuable gestures we could ever do to honor these good people who died so tragically.
Just a thought.
Not all of us are as talented as the singers with the beautiful voices in the video above.
They have done their part to inspire, and we can do our part in a different but meaningful way.
For those living in the Sandpoint area, you can contact Panhandle Alliance for Education at P.O. Box 1675, by calling (208) 263-7040, or by credit card through the website at http://www.panhandlealliance.org/donations.htm.
Let the healing begin by your personal donation to children and their teachers across this nation.