Sandy Hook are words that I have never had the occasion to put together before, and they have not meant something to the majority of the population until now. Together, the two words have a pleasant ring to them, but now they have a morbid connotation. I had been purposefully trying to steer clear of media details of the tragic event at Sandy Hook Elementary School because the mere thought of it is too painful to imagine and process. It has been ultimately unavoidable to hear wrenching comments and see haunting photographs. It chills me particularly because I have taught Kindergarten for many years. I have found myself wondering if I would have had the sense to quickly lock my students in the bathroom, and what else I would have done to try to protect the children in my care. The bottom line is that when you are a teacher, those children are like your own. They come to you for every need or concern and know that you will provide for them. In the bizarre situation of a school shooting, a teacher does not have the time or luxury of panicking or taking care of their own person. The commitment is much deeper than helping students learn to use counters to understand addition and how to blend letter sounds into words.
I also discovered yesterday that one of the teachers slain at Sandy Hook additionally had a part time job at Starbucks. I am also currently employed at Starbucks as a shift supervisor. This information made it even more eerie and disturbing to me. The teacher/barista’s funeral is today and you will be seeing Starbucks baristas across the nation wearing a ribbon with Sandy Hook’s colors of green and white to honor those who have fallen.
My heart aches for the staff and the children of Sandy Hook Elementary School as well as their family and friends. I am sure that yours does as well. There has always been, and there always will be people that behave badly and tragedies that unfold. There is much anger and outcry about the Sandy Hook murders and I am sure that more safety standards and legislation will come out of this. However, I also believe that an important response to counteract acts of wickedness and the pain we see in others is to try our best to behave with grace and goodness. Acts of kindness may not change the world, but it will make a difference in many lives we touch. Oftentimes, the worst situations can give rise to the best gestures in the human spirit.
Give your kids and educators an extra hug today!
Me & some of my students from a couple of years ago: