As an active person, I thoroughly enjoy the opportunities I take to be amid nature: running, hiking, climbing, etc. In fact, as my students learned today, I recently competed in the Tough Mudder challenge which put participants through a muddy course roughly 10-12 miles long with 20-25 obstacles spread among the miles. It was an absolute blast, albeit dirty. Furthermore, I loved that my registration went to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project which gives back to those who have defended our nation.
Today, many other such avid active persons laced up their shoes for the Boston Marathon which honored the 26 victims in the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy at 26th, and final full mile of the race. Hours after the winners were crowned and many crossed the finish line, two bombs exploded, ending at least two lives. At what point will the sickness that drives some to inflict such senseless harm on others end? The sad irony of people dying in the general vicinity of an homage to those who had previously lost their lives stuck out to me like a seedy, busted neon sign.
As an educator, I work daily to try to model compassion, acceptance, appreciation, good citizenship, among many other traits. Some days I feel I succeed more than others, but I will never stop trying to do my best. I want each of my students to be their best. I want each student passing through my classroom to understand right from wrong. I want them all to understand how to see things from the point of view of another. While no standardized test can measure how successfully my colleagues and I are in this quest to better the world one middle schooler at a time, events such as the tragedies that have occurred in Sandy Hook, Chicago, Boston, Iraq, India, Norway, Northern Ireland, Libya, among so many other places remind us all that we as a global community must put an end to this madness.
In the city where our nation was born, we took a stand against tyranny, asserted ourselves and our human rights, and forged a new nation that would embrace all. We still have so much work that we have yet to complete, but look at all the progress we have made in these two-hundred and thirty-seven years. Let us not drop the torch now. Let us continue to be models to our upcoming generations of how the world should be. Let us emulate the world in which we all deserve to live.