Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Scary Things

Since first hearing the news about Boston on the way home from work yesterday, I've seen this quote pop up a few times in my news feeds:

I had not heard this quote before yesterday, but it makes a lot of sense. And it got me thinking....

A lot of large-scale tragedies have happened in my relatively short lifetime. Many while I was a kid. I never realized how many until I was teaching a lesson on the Clinton and Bush administrations the other day and we were talking about the different attacks that had occurred during those 16 years.
Although I don't remember it, the first World Trade Center bombing happened when I was 5 years old. 
I can recall the Oklahoma City bombing. I was in 2nd grade. Students in our school wrote poems and drew pictures to send to the families affected by the event, and our words and images were turned into a book. 
In 5th grade, the shootings at Columbine happened. I remember the news reports. I remember the atmosphere at school changing in the following days. But I don't remember being scared. Maybe I was still too young to understand? 
September 11th, 2001, I was sitting in my eighth grade English class when our principal came over the intercom and announced the attacks. None of it made sense at the time. Why would people do something like that? Now when I look back and watch the footage from that day, all I can focus on are the faces of the first responders as they headed towards those towers and wonder if they ever made it home that night.
West Virginia Tech. Fort Hood. Aurora, Colorado. Sandy Hook Elementary. And now, Boston.
I've started to lose track of all the crazy things that have happened in our world. I fear I'm starting to become desensitized to it all. Yes, I hurt when I see these things on the news. Please, don't misunderstand me. But I'm starting to notice that with each event that happens, those feelings of shock and raw emotions don't last nearly as long as they use to.

I think what scares me the most, though, is that these events and all their craziness will start to become "normal." I think about my students - they were only in kindergarten or 1st grade when 9/11 happened. I think about how much they've witnessed in their 15-16 years on earth. I wonder if events like Boston, or even Sandy Hook, are just another news story to them. They didn't even bring it up today in class... I wonder if they realize that it wasn't always this scary out in the world - you weren't constantly looking over your shoulders or suspiciously eyeing the person next to you. Or maybe it was and I was, again, too young to realize it.

We need to remember that there is still good in this world. There are still "helpers" out there. Extra prayers should be said today. Not just for the victims of Boston and their families. But also for those firefighters, police officers, EMTs and paramedics who helped. For the bystanders who put others before themselves. For the nurses and doctors who cared for all of the hurt and wounded. We need to remember them in our prayers as well.


  1. I struggled so much with this with my students last year - teaching kids about 9/11 who have only grown up knowing crazy security lines and Wars on Terror. It's so difficult because their perspective, though not that far removed from our own, is markedly different. My guess about Boston is that your physical proximity to the event, combined with the total lack of information and the relatively low number of deaths, makes them feel like this one was "okay." People were (mostly) safe. I'm not sure, it's hard to say. I definitely, definitely was so sad yesterday morning that I didn't have my own flock of high schoolers to call my own and help shape their understanding of the event.

    This was a great post! Every time that I get overwhelmed by all the things that seem to happen so quickly (ie: the events you listed since WTC93), I try to remember that these things may have happened historically, just that people only write about the biggest, most awful ones that stand out the most.

    1. You're probably right about the proximity - it might just not hit home with the kids. I think it was the same with 9/11: we live so far from NY on top of the fact that they were still pretty young. I showed them a short documentary that featured 9 individuals who were in NY and their stories. They had pulled out their cameras and had recorded some of the images we see replayed in a lot of other documentaries. My students were hypnotized by the screen. Suddenly they understood why people still talk about 9/11 like it was a big deal. It clicked.

      Its funny you mention "these things may have happened historically," because I was listening to a guy on the radio (no idea who it was) who said that this is to be expected. That we're still a young country and all the other countries before us went through similar "growing pains" before they got to where they are now. My World History knowledge is lacking, so I'm not sure which events/countries he was referring to, but it was an interesting perspective. Regardless, events like these are still terrible.



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