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.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Day of Silence

I can't imagine not being able to speak. Speak the truth about who I am. "Who I am" today is not who I was 5 years ago, and it's not who I'm going to be 5 years from now. But regardless of my age, I've always felt valued. Accepted. Respected. Loved.

Today, as I keep silent in solidarity with those who don't feel this acceptance, I am grateful for my parents. I love them dearly. They taught me so much about love and family. I grew up believing I was important. I knew I was appreciated for who I was. I realize I grew up in an upper-middle class, white, educated, Christian, non-immigrant, traditional family. And that I really didn't have many "battles" to fight. But my parents nurtured the idea that not only could I do and be anything I set my mind to, but that I had a responsibility to stick of up for what I believed in, to take care of the underdog.

I am also grateful for my husband and friends. They have shown me that there's a whole world outside of the small town where I grew up. So many individuals do not have the luxury of "a voice" that I had as a kid, that I have as an adult. And my friends remind me what a treasure it has been, what a gift it still is. I'm lucky to have them in my life. They support my causes, they affirm my choices, and they challenge me to continue to do better for the underdog.

And today, I am particularly grateful for my students. I look out and see 25% of my first period class keeping silent, too. That's 50% more than last year. So we're growing as a school community. My students keep me young. They keep me honest. They remind me that there are many who have challenges that can't easily be voiced. And for those students who don't have a support system, feel loved, I have the model of my parents, husband and friends to fall back on. As my students eyes look to me for guidance and hope, I'm glad I can say, "It gets better. There are students around you who care. Until you feel connected, I'm here. Just hang on."