Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pay It Forward

I recently ran a fundraiser in my school for a student who has cancer. The fundraiser was called Lolligrams. It involved purchasing a Valetine’s card with a lollipop. My class and two other classes would then deliver these Valentine’s to whoever you wished your Valentine to be delivered to. I’ve done this Lolligram fundraiser many times in the past. It is such a terrific way to get kids involved in doing something for someone else. The kids love sending the Valentine’s & they love delivering them to the classrooms. But, this time, for me, it was different! It hit me personally, in the past when I’ve done the fundraiser, I felt for the families, I wanted to be able to help, I wanted to do “something” b/c well, I just could not imagine what it was like to have your child sick, to sit by their bedside and wish & hope for them to get better! However, this time I knew. This time, I knew that raw pain, the gut wrenching, tear your gut out pain that goes with having your child lay in a hospital bed & you are absolutely helpless to do anything about it. This time I knew what will lay ahead for this family, what comes after you get your child home, how when you think life just may start to be normal again, & bam, your thrust into another medical crisis & the roller coaster ride of no sleep, laying in hospital chairs, waiting for answers awaits you. I know how you begin to operate on automatic pilot, how on the outside you look like you have it all together & yet on the inside you can’t keep your thoughts together, nothing makes sense, you seem to forget everything & it is hard sometimes to remember even what “normal” was. Soon those mounting medical bills come in, you begin to make the phone calls to the insurance company, to countless people they transfer you to, who say, I’m sorry, you will have to speak to so & so, they can help you, but then so & so says, “I’m so sorry, I can’t help you, I will transfer you!” & before you know it, you’ve been on the phone for 3 hrs, spoken to 3 people & gotten no where! It is for these reasons this fundraiser was so important to me, it was for these reasons that it was so emotional to me watching all the kids beaming faces making those deliveries on Valentine’s Day! We have had such tremendous, loving support while we have put the pieces back together after my son’s accident. Life is not the same, it is different, it is hard, some days, it is even a nightmare. However, I will NEVER forget the love, the kindness, the compassion that was shown to our family & is still shown to us as we are still on this journey back to recovery. It is my goal each & everyday to pay it forward. We are part of a club I don’t wish anyone to be a part of, however, I won’t let anyone travel that road alone, so I will do what it takes, Lolligrams, 5k runs, midnight dashes to the ER, whatever, just so someone knows, they are not alone, kindness travels, pay it forward! I promise to continue to reach out, it is what makes getting through the days better…


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine’S Day

Today is Valentine's Day. I'm excited. I'm excited not for the flowers, not for the candy, not for the cards. Sure, I like cards, I LOVE flowers & I especially LOVE chocolate, but those are not the things that bring me the excitement. I'm excited because I teach Kindergarten & through their eyes, Valentine's Day will be like Christmas to them. They will open up each Valentine & exclaim with excitement over who sent it to them, & will rejoice in the fact that this Valentine came with a tattoo or a sticker! Through the eyes of a five year old commercialism has not begun to touch their world. They are not aware of anything else. They are so caught up in the pure joy & excitement of opening each & every single card. The excitement of being able to read the names of their classmates, when just a few short weeks before they may not have been able to read them! Today was Valentine's Day, I hope everyone had as much fun as I did! I sure did. Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

See Something, Say Something

Recently while reading a facebook post on a page that is dedicated to parents in my home school district, I read something that just completely horrified. It horrified me on so many levels! The post was about a young student, a middle school student that had tried committing suicide during school hours. The post was by one parent & the horror she felt over this incident. This parent’s horror was not sympathy for this poor young soul, this horror was about things that made me stop & ask myself if I was not living on a foreign planet. When did we stop being compassionate? The replies that ensued only horrified me even more. The more I read, the more upset I got! I just could not believe what I was reading. Parents commenting on what they were so upset about. They blamed this poor child’s parents for what happened, a child they did not even know. How they felt the school district was responsible. That the teachers must be held responsible after all b/c this child would not have done this at the school if the school was not somehow at fault. The more I read, the angrier I got, the more I read, the more I felt like, am I crazy? I must be missing something? Why isn’t anyone as upset as I am? No one seems to be bothered by all this? No one is writing back to all these comments…I finally read the page to my husband who was, thankfully, as horrified as I was! Ok, reality, I was not living in another land, I was not crazy, he was as upset as I was! I then sat down to compose my answer. By the time I returned to the page, the commentary had turned from this poor unfortunate child’s suicide attempt to drug use & drinking in the schools. It has now resorted to referring to these children as “degenerates”! “What”??? By this point my blood was boiling & you guessed it, no one said a thing!! Back to writing a response! It took me a bit to write a response, a well thought out response that did not reflect my anger, but my sadness that as parents of children how careful we need to be in not resorting to judging other children & calling them names. While I understand a parent’s fear when you hear that drugs are appearing in your children’s schools, I understand the fear when you hear that a young child, a child who is the same age as your child is so depressed that he/she feels that they have no other options but to end their lives…but I must ask you to now walk in that child’s parents shoes, imagine what it must have felt like to get that phone call, to have to run to the hospital, to hear about what is happening in your precious child’s life! I wrote to these parents asking them to think about their own children, asking them how they would feel if it was their child who was struggling with depression or drug abuse & someone who does not even know them referred to them as a degenerates, how would it feel? Not so nice I bet now would it? We are our children’s role models, we are their first teacher’s, we lead by example. We should not judge these children, we do not know what their struggles are. While I understand the fear, I understand & respect that you do not like these children’s choices, you don’t have to! But, you do need to teach your child tolerance, love & respect! If we all did that, we would have so many kids feeling less stress, less depression & perhaps more children would feel that they had other options, they might not choose drugs, they might choose options to stay alive rather than choose suicide b/c they would know that they had people who loved & respected them! My response got lots of commentary, it is what I expected, but it was not the commentary I expected, I expected to get lots of negativity, but most people said, “Thank You!” It was a small thing, but you need to speak up, speak up even if you know what you have to say might not be popular….see something, say something! You just never know, you might be surprised like I was!