President's Monthly Message

The Gift of Being an Educator 

 As I round out 37 years in education I find I am much more reflective about the career I chose so many years ago.  In retrospect, I consider myself very fortunate to have worked closely with
young people for as long as I have.

Yesterday, as has become part of my daily routine, I drove into work listening to the news of the day. There were heartbreaking stories from the fighting in the Middle East and Ukraine, stories of bombings, missile attacks, violence against innocent civilians, even another school shooting. During the commercial breaks, the deluge of heavy content continued.  It was now time for the classic political advertisements, wherein candidates lob virtual bombs at each other’s work records, making absolutely certain to hurt each other or their character in the process. The messages were clearly designed to instill hate, doubt, and suspicion of one American toward another.  At the end of each message the candidate would say, “I am _____ and I endorsed this message”… Seriously, I thought to myself… and you’re proud of it?  It was hard not to enter the doors of the school feeling discouraged about the future for myself, my country, the world, and especially, for our unborn grandchild, due in February.

However, the negative avalanche seemed to melt away as I walked into the “First Friday Mass”
with our elementary school students.  I breathed a sigh of relief for the brief reprieve “from the
madness” as I walked along rows and rows of students toward my seat. Directly across the aisle
from me was a little girl crying and being comforted by her teacher. She was one of our 3-5 year
old students and I couldn’t help but think at that moment, she really wanted/needed her parents
as she was so little and clearly upset.  Honestly, the sad child only added to the already difficult
start to my day, but fortunately things were about to change.

As I watched the teacher work to calm the child, I noticed the little girl sitting next to her taking in
her classmate’s despair. Her face too became discouraged, yet she was not about to stand
helplessly by. She knew she needed to act and she quickly began to rub and pat her friends
back; seeking to comfort her in the only way she knew how, through a simple act of love. It was
the exact demonstration of selfless care and love for another that I needed to see to renew my
faith in mankind and not surprisingly, it came from a child.

I took a picture of the scene, hoping to provide others with a glimpse of the hope that children
can provide us with daily.  They seem to simplify life in all the right ways.  We educators are
truly blessed!  I hope this picture lifts your spirits in the same way it did mine!