The famous cliche says time heals all wounds. I don’t know if time heals much of anything necessarily, but perhaps it helps us forget. Recently a friend e-mailed her frustrations of working in public schools and it was as though every wound I thought I stitched up and replaced with fresh memories of smiling children and coloring books were knocked away, the wounds yanked open, salt spilling into their very crevices.
I don’t care that Lizzie can’t write her name- her mom threatened to sue so write in the C’s and check off her promotion.
Yes he has cigarette burns running down his arm and I understand he said his dad beats him with a switch but the marks are old.
I know he’s clearly autistic and sits in the corner rocking back and forth, but there is no way we can test him until next year.
I know he attacked you with scissors and split your jeans but we cannot afford an aide.
Friend, I understand your frustration. I’m haunted by those I couldn’t help. I’m haunted by the children incorrectly placed. Its heartbreaking to watch a child burning with hope at five, at nine completely devoid of any such light despite your efforts. I know its draining to fight and plead and argue simply to get a child tested or to convince a mom to give her child some time when she’s working two jobs or simply doesn’t care. Sometimes it feels like all the forces are there simply to crush your heart and burn you out. As a burn out, I feel unqualified to advise you how to go on. But what kept me going in the day to day, was reminding myself to stop fixating on the mountains and looking at the pebbles. To stop looking at the ocean and instead at the starfish lying helpless by my feet. You can’t save them all, you won’t save them all. But for the ones you will touch you will move mountains. You as their advocate, their role model, and the biggest cheerleader they may ever have, are already moving mountains. They’re your starfish and through your love you’re letting them back into the sea to be who they were meant to be. Don’t give up.
A man walking on the beach saw a young man picking up small objects and throwing them into the ocean. The man came closer and asked the young man what he was doing. The young man replied he was throwing starfish into the ocean.”But why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the startled man. The young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.” Upon hearing this, the man commented, “But, don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!” At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, “It made a difference for that one”