As my students bound about my classroom with enviable pep in their step I am always overwrought with jealousy. They have only just begun. Their whole futures are ahead of them and their options are endless. Despite the fact that I am only 23 I feel as though some of my options and decisions have already passed. My college experience has since retired, my graduate schoolwork is already half-finished and I am well on my way to becoming established in the teaching community. While I still have some monumental decisions left to make, I look upon the freedom of youth with admiration.
These little humans are so resilient and sometimes ignorant to all of life’s cruelties. I just wish I could bottle up their childhood innocence and lock the lid forever. Each year I find myself becoming more cynical and more stubborn, more aloof. The world isn’t as safe as I once imagined it. I often wish I could see the world through their little eyes for just one day, to see again that there is beauty everywhere, and not just heartache.
One of my students passed away this year in a murder-suicide. She and her mother were taken. Her father took himself shortly thereafter. My students handled this horrifying truth with such grace and maturity, of which I am still dumbfounded by. They were able to bandage up their wounds far sooner than I was, and are able to talk about her with smiles and laughter.
As a teacher I am constantly amazed by their brilliance. But, this was the most remarkable of all. Life for them is not yet cruel. Even though they were exposed to the horrors of this world far too young they are still able to see only beauty. For that, I am grateful.