Two turtle doves [Schools trumpeting empathy]

Hey John, In 2030, my 18-year-old son will look back on this day and think to himself, “Why did Mom and Dad put me in a Santa’s Helper pajama costume again?” He won’t remember, but I’m hoping he’ll remember the love and warmth he felt from his own family. He’ll remember the laughs we had […]

2 Turtle Doves

Hey John,

In 2030, my 18-year-old son will look back on this day and think to himself, “Why did Mom and Dad put me in a Santa’s Helper pajama costume again?”

He won’t remember, but I’m hoping he’ll remember the love and warmth he felt from his own family. He’ll remember the laughs we had with him, and the scent of roast pork, rice with beans, potato salad, and his mom’s now popular baking exploits. He’ll have had plenty of samples from his year to that year, and exponential amounts of love and care thrown his way because he was loved.

These moments we hold right now do make me reflect on the raw events that happened during Superstorm Sandy and Sandy Hook, the latter especially poignant because of the school setting. You have to wonder where the shooter felt like someone didn’t love him, didn’t watch over him, didn’t give him that one last push or pull for comfort. When people refer to schools as places for safety, they implicitly refer to teachers as gap fillers, nurses to the academic and personal upbringing of children.

As professionals, we get that we have to work as hard as possible to assure children learn. It’s our #1 priority as professionals, and no one ought to argue that. It doesn’t mean that, in a very close second, we shouldn’t prioritize helping the students in front of us become better people. Teaching empathy and care for one another shouldn’t take tragic events. Thinking reactively about the way schools function in this capacity only let folks think bringing more armed individuals into schools is a good idea.

In 2030, I would like to see schools that proudly mention their capacity for understanding, not just in Newtown and Columbine, but also Chicago and Kabul. Caring for one another as human beings is the missing ingredients. Let’s remember tonight and forever how schools can provide this.

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