Today was a difficult day.
I arrived at school, the hearts of gratitude created by our students still sparkling on my table, their endearing messages and sweet sentiments reminding me of our kindness lesson the day before.
Students entered the building and several peeked in the Innovation Lab, seeking me out, smiles and open arms reaching for the hugs they receive each day on the way to class.
To an observer, it was a typical day.
To an educator, it was anything but.
My heart is heavy.
I feel guilty that I could tuck my kids into bed last night when others faced empty bedrooms.
I am heartbroken that there are students in this world who feel so unloved, filled with so much pain, tortured by so much hate, that taking the lives of others is acceptable in their minds.
Today I looked around at the students entrusted to my care and made a point to show them respect.
Show them patience.
Show them love.
In times like this, I feel completely overwhelmed and helpless. Who am I to think I can change the world? How could one little act of kindness truly make a dent in all these horror stories that fill each news channel I see?
I can’t fix yesterday.
I can’t bring back lives lost.
I can’t ease the pain of a grieving parent, nor can I mend the broken heart of a family who will never see their dad again.
But instead of focusing on the cant’s and can nots, I will chose to embrace I can.
I can call a student by name with a smile.
I can stop in the hall and listen to a story a child is bursting to tell.
I can remind students that they matter, that I care about them, that they have value and worth in my eyes.
I can choose to believe in the good and the power of positivity.
I can believe my planted seeds of kindness will one day sprout into a heart of compassion and empathy for others.
I can look for the good in others and trust that the ripple effect of your kindness and my kindness and the kindness of many will spread far and wide to make this world a better, safer place to live.
And so can you.