A few months ago I was invited to a meeting with the sole purpose of listening to student voice. The topic was mental health during the pandemic. A group of high schools students shared their perspectives with a group of adults. That night I left cut to the heart. Their truth was a reality check. Their truth made me question my actions. The one thing they stated that continues to stick out? They said they felt abandoned. They said with all the talk on how hard everything is on teachers and on their parents, they have felt abandoned…. yes I cried.
A month later, I was meeting with a group of teacher leaders with the topic of student voice and support. I shared what the students had shared. It came up that teachers also feel abandoned… as I thought about it, I realized I think many of us… all of us… have this similar feeling. Abandoned by who?
If I admit it, I too have feelings of abandonment. I’ve worked harder and longer hours yet it never seems enough…
I am afraid these feelings of abandonment has led to a competition in our society. While we are all sharing this common feeling, instead of leaning together, we try to decide who has it worse. We are all hurt and instead of finding common ground we want to say we have it harder than anyone else… like feelings during a pandemic are a competition…. like we all aren’t struggling. I wonder if we engage such behavior because we want someone to blame. We are in a global pandemic and we are struggling and instead of seeing our common suffering we have to make it a competition….
While this feeling of abandonment is common so is the jump to assumptions of the worse. I have noticed this trend to assume the worst of others intentions. I won’t mention what my dad taught me about assuming…. but what I will say is assuming the worst from others does nothing but hurt, divide…. When did it become common to assume others in education want to do harm? When did it become the norm to cut others down so we can feel better about ourselves? I have yet to see anything resolved by pushing down those who are on the same team.
A few weeks ago I was in Washington DC and I was able to once again tour the monuments that symbolize the history of our country… many represent times of darkness and hopelessness… many show the resilience of standing together… they show the power of coming together instead of pointing fingers… they reminded me of what it is to rise to challenges.
Our history is not perfect, neither are any of us. I do know when we only focus on ourselves all of us suffer… including our kids. They deserve our best… we deserve our best… suffering is not a competition… making it one, only increases suffering.