To my child’s teacher,
The onslaught of recent school shootings has everyone reeling. I’ll be honest, over the past days and weeks my primary concern has been with my children. But I want you to know that you are not forgotten in this.
I cannot imagine what you must be going through right now. You must be devastated.
I have this vision of you at your graduation—your eyes sparkling (like they do now), you look super cute (also like you do now), and you are just beaming, thinking about how you are going to change the world.
I wonder if you still feel that way.
This is not the world you thought you’d be teaching in. It’s not the world any of us could have imagined.
For what it’s worth, I want you to know that you have changed the world for my family.
When you sat next to my daughter when the wolf in the school play scared her, you changed our world.
When you told me that my tantrum-throwing son has a heart of gold, you changed our world.
When you helped my baby walk for the first time after he broke his leg, you changed our world.
When you hugged me tightly because I was crying harder than my kid—er, all the kids in the entire class—on the first day of school, you changed our world.
You do more for my children, my world, than I can ever possibly thank you for.
And now this.
You didn’t sign up for this.
Bubbly-adorable-graduation-you never envisioned that one day you might have to bar the door against a killer with a machine gun, while you helped children find hiding places in your classroom.
You could never have prepared for what it would feel like to learn that a professional peer was shot and killed at work.
In all of the classes you took, no one told you that one day, people would suggest that you need to go to work armed with a gun.
You just wanted to make the world a better place by being a teacher. By molding the minds of our future.
Please know that you do, every day. And we are so grateful.
Thank you for keeping my children safe.
I can only imagine how horrific it must be to do those lockdown drills with our kids. But you do them whenever you’re asked to keep our children safe—thank you.
Thank you for locking the front door and checking ID’s and keeping a vigilant watch over recess.
Thank you for coming to work the day after tragedies with that unwavering sparkle in your eyes—I don’t think I could do that.
Thank you for helping me try to raise peaceful children.
You keep my children safe in a hundred ways—from watching for bullies on the playground, to keeping peanut butter out of reach when they are allergic, to making sure they wear their gloves when it’s cold. It’s all noticed. It’s all so appreciated.
And so, to bubbly-bright-eyed-graduation-you, I say, “You will change the world. You will be the reason a parent can go to sleep at night. You will be the reason a child grows up to choose peace over violence. You will be a force for good and change and love.”
Thank you for loving my babies. We love you right back.