When my mother boarded that plane so many years ago, leaving her children behind, to go make a life for us in America, it was all for love. When she sent for us one-by-one, it was for love. I remember being the last one at home, instinctively having conversations with my sister, who wasn’t there. She was waiting for me across the Atlantic.
My father lost his mind that his children were gone and sold every worldly possession to join us. He did that for love.
My mother worked around the clock, living with patients she cared for day and night. And, I gained 20 lbs. in my first year because she indulged us with all our favorites. Love.
There are many stories like mine, much more moving in fact. The love of a child is a funny and unrelenting thing. Sometimes we lose our way in pomp and circumstances of our own making. But at its core, we do all that we do for that love.
Doing It for Love
So educators in public schools, charter schools, private schools and virtual schools… Thank you for loving our babies. Thanks for going to bed at night worrying about them, fighting to find new ways to reach them, and never giving up on them.
It means the world to me that you know my son’s name, and that he’s a talker, and a character, who wears his heart on his sleeve. It touched me that day in the school open house when you called my daughter “the reader”. That’s all I heard in my head for the rest of my day.
When you set the bar so high that my child has to stretch higher than he thought possible to reach it, I feel your love. Don’t ever lower your expectations of his brown face. He’s always looking up at you, as you look down at him. Feel free to keep writing those notes on his assignments that go way beyond the letter grade he earned. The occasional “Come on, you knew this one”, or “Way to go Jude, I knew you could do it!” are never wasted on us.
Your love comes through when you invite me to read to the class, or ask me to chaperone a field trip…which I despise by the way. Keep showing me love by explaining my child’s progress, and struggles, in words I can understand and giving me solutions I can actually be a part of. Know that I feel your love when you call me up to say, “Hey, we had an issue today. Let’s figure this out together.”
And, administrators, I know it’s love when you robo-call me 10 times a month to keep me informed. I want to kill you, but I need it. Keep bringing science, technology, engineering, arts and math programs to my kids classroom because you want them to have the very best lives their little minds can muster. Oh, and keep checking my ID at the door and putting your bodies between would-be-crazies and my babies. That’s love!
I feel it everyday when you close achievement gaps, and expectation gaps, and equity gaps. Keep fighting the good fight. Happy Valentine’s Day.