sometimes we run into kiddos we want to take home with us. we get glimpses into their home lives and we shutter with fright at what they see every night when they leave our school. we try to put it out of our minds when we're with our own families but our minds continue to drift back to our children in unsafe situations. and most of the time we are powerless to do anything about it.
i really thought i was fairly immune to this by now, but i've learned if i was i wouldn't be human. last year i had a classroom of kiddos i would have put into my car and driven home with me in a heartbeat. i spent so much time on the phone with child services i felt like i should send christmas cards to the different agents i worked with. none of that experience or the hardened shell i gained helped me yesterday.
i went home so scared. i wanted to throw things. kick things. cry. and yet it wasn't my problem. and the worst thing is, nobody can fix it.
i spent the night wondering what i could do. how could i make it better? what could i solve? change? help with? and then i realized that anything i did was purely to make myself feel better. it would not change lives or fix the problem. some problems can't be fixed. sometimes the only way we 'fix it' is to listen to it, acknowledge it, and sit with it knowing we are powerless to do something about it. trying to fix it is almost insulting to the kiddos suffering. as though we are so powerful as teachers we can wave our wands and fix their lives. as though their suffering is so insignificant that one person, or a group of people, can enter onto the scene with their super hero capes on and make it all go away.
but we can't always be super heroes. no matter how good we are at it most of the time.
sometimes we have to let kids be sad. we have to admit there is nothing we can do. we have to know the world is unfair and that we cannot protect everyone around us.
and then we have to go home and cry, knowing that caring hurts, but also that caring is what makes us who we are.