John Steinbeck wrote: “It has always seemed strange to me…The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling, are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest are the traits of success.”
This year America has been challenged with the traits we detest. Every day we are faced with unspeakable tragedies that are reported as “the worst case in American history”. To walk into synagogues, schools, hospitals, airports, and kill and wound innocent people has stretched our resolve. We use the words “our hearts and prayers go out to the victims” with such regularity that they can generate a numbness that is not supposed to occur. How can we, as educators, use these tragedies to teach our students that none of this is OK? We cannot allow these events to become the new normal. We cannot allow hate, prejudice, intolerance and fear to become the new traits of success that Steinbeck would have added to his quote.
I believe that we need to continue to emphasize the goodness, the kindness, the unselfishness that the vast majority of Americans possess to our students. We can utilize our core values of honesty, respect, trust and hard work as a daily reminder. In our own small way we can effect positive change. Thanks for all you do and continuing to be strong in these difficult times.