A day like today, with the sun shining through a clear, vivid blue fall sky, makes me realize how important it is to take nothing for granted. Each day, each moment, to appreciate and treasure. Life can be unexpected, but you have to cling to what is important, what really matters, and never let that leave you. On tv, young children are honoring parents they never really knew, parents are mourning the loss of their grown children, widows are praying silently, eyes squeezed shut.
On a morning like today, like others, I am thinking back ten years. I was sitting in my high school history class when word made it up to us from the front office about what was happening. We turned on our classroom tv and watched in dismay as newscasters scrambled and jumbled information was slowly pieced together. We watched live as the second tower was hit.
I remember too that my history teacher turned off the tv then. Not because he couldn't handle it, or because he thought we couldn't. Instead, he told us he had to finish his lesson for the day, since we were already behind in the unit (the lesson was something about the West and the gold rush). To this day, I still can't believe that. We were watching history unfold before us, in a history classroom, yet my teacher was more concerned about covering material than helping teenagers grapple with real history being made and the unanswerable questions we all had.
This day impacted all of us, as Americans. And my particular experience impacted me in a way that I hope to remember always. I don't want to be the teacher who sacrifices teaching something truly meaningful for the sake of a tidy lesson plan. Whatever the future brings us, I want to be that teacher encouraging my students to embrace the world they live in, good and bad. I want them to understand, to participate, to know.
I'm interning in a fifth grade classroom right now, and Friday, we had a school-wide moment of silence for September 11th. Only some of our fifth graders had even been born then. Most everyone in the school, the adults excluded, were not even yet imagined on that day.
Time goes so quickly. We must appreciate each and every day.