I have been contemplating posting this for about a week, and my hesitancy is that it is not really a new tool or concept that every school can benefit from. But the more I think about it, and the more I am impacted by it, I feel compelled to share.
Recently, a tragedy struck a family in our Virginia Beach community. A story hit the news about a five year old boy who was murdered by his father. The mother was also wounded. At first this was just another sad story on the news, something that I try to avoid; however, my fiance realized that he knew this family. He is actually very close friends with the little boy's uncle and aunt and their family. The event then took on a new meaning for me; I couldn't stay detached because I wasn't anymore. I attended the little boy's funeral, and since then, my life has not been the same. At the service, his short life crossed a screen image by image, and I struggled with questions of faith and fate and God and other things that many people probably explore when this kind of thing happens. I empathized with the family and the poor mother. I cried and ached to hold my own small children close. Forever.
Since then, I have been preoccupied by this tragedy, and in a way, I am grateful because I have had a renewed sense of life. I have stopped rushing and fretting quite so much. I have taken each day I have had with my own two boys during the past week and lived it fully. I have laughed more willingly at their orneriness and spoken more tenderly when frustrated. So in that way, little Joshua does live on, as they expressed hopefully during the funeral. He will continue teaching me to cherish the moments I have with my children, which is something we often forget in the harried and hurried evenings and days.
And it has led me to question why we, as educators, do what we do. Why there are so many of us out there who are passionate about making the classroom something more meaningful and purposeful for our students. We have realized that we only have a limited amount of time with them; every second is valuable and something to cherish, and they deserve all we can give. As Joshua helps me to remember that with my own children, I hope I can also be helped to remember that when working with my teachers and our students.
So maybe this post does have something to do with tools we can use in our schools and classrooms: connecting, being present with our students, valuing each teachable moment with them, and knowing that we impact their lives, whether short or long.
I ask that you take a moment to visit the site Remembering Joshua. I hope that you continue to be inspired to live life fully and to always find joy and meaning, both in and out of your classroom. If you feel compelled to donate to the family, there is a link. The mother has substantial recovering to do, and she is probably going to be without health insurance by the end of this month. If prayer and positive support is what you can offer, please do that as well.
Please forward this post to as many as you can so that we can make a difference to this family who is enduring such a great loss.