Educators. Students. Community members. Much more unites us than divides us, particularly knowing we all wear multiple hats. Building relationships. Thinking BIG.
Challenging and supporting one another. Developing engaged, empathetic citizens. Please join me in pondering how best to nurture these common ground connections.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Yes, I Remember Where I was...

Today is 9/11, the anniversary of an incredibly tragic day. I remember the day vividly. I was teaching my high school chemistry class when I found out about the twin towers. There were two students in class with parents working in NYC and one student with grandparents flying in from Boston that day. I remember how my oldest daughter could not comprehend that this was an intentional act, and not an accident. I remember my youngest daughter thinking the plane hit her preschool building and was frightened to go back. And I remember crying for weeks as images were displayed on television and in newspapers of the devastation felt by so many.

But as we reflect on that day, I implore us all to do so with both compassionate hearts and critical minds. Let us take more from this tragedy than a feeling of sorrow and/or pride; our children deserve better. Let us teach our kids that we are a part of a global community and we have a responsibility to that end. Let us better understand history and our role in its creation. Let us recognize what America does well and what we can improve upon and strive to do so. No one should have to live with the devastation both violence and hatred cause, no matter where they live. So let us let our individual and collective behavior reflect that belief.

The greatest tragedy that could come from remembering 9/11, or similar types of anniversaries, is to reflect on them with a narrow lens, afraid to confront what might be hidden or out of view. There's always something constructive we can learn from these profound historical moments. Looking willingly and courageously at the larger, more complicated context, we can learn how to better contribute to our global community. And we can, indeed, show our children how to leave this world a more peaceful, unified place than we found it.