Saturday, July 30, 2016

Building Communities of Compassion and Care

I read the notice of a life lost this morning. Several members of the extended school community died in the past few months.

When you teach, you come in contact with many families and many stories. Each time I read the news of a life lost by illness or accident, I remember back to the moments when my life touched that life at a parent conference, in the hallway at school, during a sports meet, or while attending a special event. I ache for the family members left and the anguish they faced throughout an illness or at the news of the accident. I am continually struck by the fleeting nature of life.

As educators we can't follow every life, but we do follow some and continue to keep in contact and perhaps offer support long after we are the child's teacher. Most importantly is the love and care we provide when we are a child's teacher--the nurturing and love we can give when we teach that child each and every day. Hopefully that care contributes to a life of love and strength, a life that's ready to navigate tough challenges and loss as well as the love and grace life offers.

The older I get, the more I recognize the strength in creating communities of compassion and care in school, at home, and in the greater community. Truly there's never a limit to what you can do when it comes to compassion and care--there is always more that's possible, and that fact can be overwhelming at times.

In general, it's best to give what you can when you can, and to stretch a little more each day to strengthen that ability to love well in ways that matter.

Life isn't often easy, and when we can be there for those who suffer, we do well. Just as important, we have to embrace the grace, fullness, and joy life brings too. Onward.