Wednesday, December 19, 2012

a message from newtown, connecticut

on friday morning my husband called me and said there was a shooting at a school in the town where our friends live.
this morning i wrote messages to them through a fury of tears.  i wanted them to know we have been thinking of them constantly through these terribly dark days.
as i ran today, all i could think about were the email conversations i had with chris and kevin, both of whom live in newtown/sandy hook with their families.
with each step, every thought was on their kids, their friends, their neighbors, the kids they coached on soccer teams who have siblings that are now gone, the kids who shared a bus together who have siblings who are now gone, the first responders, the police, the volunteer fire department, and the amazing teachers.  

as i ran, this song came on my ipod.  
and with each step, overwhelming feeling of sadness and so many tears. 


prayers and love and blessings to those who need it more than ever.

for those precious children and heroic adults whose lives were cut short senselessly and whose families have woken up with a broken heart every day since friday.

here is an email from our friend chris who lives in newtown:

First, thanks to all of you for sending well wishes over the last few days.  It has been trying but your thoughts have been very helpful.

To give you an update, today was another emotional day as I brought my daughter back to school.  Lots of hugs and tears for Parents and Teachers.  It is very difficult looking at the staff knowing that it could have just as easily happened at our school.  We could have also seen the same heroics.

Which leads me to this note.  While all the craziness was happening at Sandy Hook, the other schools in Newtown were in lockdown.  Up to 6,000 students had to be cared for and watched over in the most trying of circumstances.

Many of you have asked what you can do.  One thing I say is please hug and thank your children’s teacher, or if you have a teacher in your family recognize them for the love and stewardship they provide.  To me they are the real first responders (no offense to the police which I hugged this morning at my daughters school).

This morning, Mrs. Baron, the 4th Grade teacher of Taegan, gave us a letter detailing what happened in her classroom on Friday.  I really felt the need to share it.  I am writing it verbatim (she gave me permission).

“To My Wonderful Parents of Room 5,

There are no words that can express the deep sadness our community, our country and our world feels at this time.  Understanding that we can and most likely will never makes sense of such tragic events, we take tiny steps forward to begin the slow healing process. Your children will be supported well in school.

My first commitment is to each and every one of ‘our’ children’s well-being.  I do not take advantage of that fact that you entrust your child in my care every day of the school year.  It is not only my duty to educate your child and bring out the best in him/her, but to help shape them into strong, independent, empathetic, critical thinkers who will contribute to society in a positive way when they are older.  Please understand that I consider my role in your child’s life an honor and a privilege.  Every day you send your children to school, you are sharing one of your most precious gifts in the world with me.  I am aware. (‘I see you’)

As a habit, my students are often told that I love them (before every test), sometimes when we walk in the hallways, sometimes during our meetings on the rug.  On Friday, I did my best to keep the children (childlike) happy, busy and feeling carefree, distracted from the indescribably, unbelievable, happenings of the world, just a short distance away.  Much of the afternoon consisted of brainteasers, puzzles (math), reading, song, and yes, even my dancing.  Mrs. Jones even met with them for a half hour.

I made certain each child knew that I loved them before they were either picked up or went on the bus at the end of the day.  I told them the true spirit of the holiday season was not getting their favorite present wrapped up in the prettiest paper, but being with family and letting them love you (the child).  And the best gift they could give any family member in return was not anything that could be purchased in a store.  It wasn’t anything that cost money.   It was something they already had, the love they have in their heart for you.

That’s when it happened.  The children rushed me with the biggest, the tightest hugs imaginable.  Some even said that Friday would be a day they would remember forever, the best day of their school career.  Imagine that.

I just wanted you to know that I did my best to make the children happy and safe, even though my heart was aching, crying on the inside.

We are all in this together.”
Truly incredible.  And I know all of the teachers we know are doing the same thing.  I think we often forget what Teachers do for us and this is a side of the story that hasn’t got as much attention.  It is the Mrs. Barons’ of the world that are my superhero’s!!

Please hug your teacher.

imagine all the people living life in peace
~j. lennon 


  1. Thanks for sharing Nik! Truly touching.

  2. Thank you for sharing...

  3. can't stop crying! I always give the kids at school hugs and smiles because they make me happy everyday at this place called work. what a beautiful letter. thanks for sharing !

  4. Thanks Nik. It's been a very tough week -- but what a beautiful letter that was

  5. Ohmygoodness... my heart feels like it is being squeezed... tears running... this is a gift... this little glimpse into the lives of the people of Newtown, a town I'm sure is not unlike our own... Love to you for sharing this and love to your friends and their friends... I have not stopped worrying and obsessing over their well-being since Friday. I have not stopped thinking about every small torturous detail that these parents face as they wake up each day to re-remember that their child is gone... I do not know a single one of them, but they are forever etched on my heart...

    The letter from the teacher is such a special treasure... I share so many of her same feelings about her students and about our role as their stewards... There is hope, but there is also an emptiness that will never be filled... We will go on, forever changed, one day at a time.

    Much love, Nicole ~ Much love, to Newtown

  6. I am quite close to many of the teachers in my daughters school and would love to share this. I hope its ok!

  7. This is heart-rending,,, and so inspiring !


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