Ever since I began reflecting and sharing online in 2007, I’ve adhered to a strict policy of keeping my private life and my professional life totally separated. I have different social media accounts for work and family, and I will unfollow people who include too much “politics” in the education sector. This blog post is my sole exception in my twelve years of writing about my experience as an educator. You’ve been warned.
Normally I look forward to starting my mornings by fixing myself an iced mocha and perusing my news feed to find out what’s happening in the world. Today I experienced only a sickening sense of dread as I powered up my ipad, and my churning stomach led me to skip the coffee altogether.
This article from USA Today that I read yesterday perfectly summed up all the troubling stories I’ve been following lately, and seeing details of these separate events compiled in one place just brought me to the point of feeling overwhelmed by what is happening in our government and in our country.
I’m feeling profoundly sad (we took frightened children away from their desperate parents?), dumbfounded (we took these children from their parents with NO procedure for eventually reuniting them?), bewildered (we think this is okay because these aren’t American children?), outraged (we’re using the words of a loving God to justify destroying families?). **And I intentionally use the pronoun “we” because when the rest of the world looks at what’s happening, they are watching what America is doing.**
And that list doesn’t even include…
…my contempt for those who would rip the blindfold from Lady Justice so as to twist the law to benefit themselves
…my disgust for those who would take advantage of people’s media illiteracy to make up their own stories about real images in the news
…my scorn for the merging of Education and Labor into one government department – as if the only worth our citizens have is as part of the work force
…my disdain for anyone who would use fashion to send tone-deaf (at best) or brazenly arrogant (at worst) messages at a time when we need compassion and concern.
As the kids say, “So many feels!”
So what to do about it? I confess to wondering, as Hamlet did, “Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them?” Because I keep my private/political opinions to myself in the professional arena. I don’t want personal beliefs to get in the way of valuable cyber connections and learning opportunities. But in the end I realize that I must heed these simple yet powerful words also from Shakespeare, “This above all, To thine own self be true.” So I’ve decided I can’t remain silent.
What I can do is stay informed, contact my legislators, raise awareness of these issues, and pray. And even though I can’t directly touch the lives of the immigrant children who are suffering right now, I CAN touch the lives of the students in my school and community.
To bring all of this back to the original purpose of this blog, I can reflect on what’s really important each day that I’m in contact with the kids who show up at school looking for relationships, looking for validation, looking for someone who sees and appreciates and nurtures their potential. What a blessing and a responsibility to be an educator! I want to keep doing it better.