Sunday, September 11, 2011
Don't You Forget About Me
Poster's Note: This is a post I did last year on 9-11. My thoughts and feelings haven't changed so I thought I'd share this post with you today.
The other day as my Geometry students packed their bags and anxiously awaited the bell that would herald them off to a fun-filled weekend, a Channel One production popped onto my TV screen. The subject—remembering 9-11.
The bustle in my room subsided for ten minutes as we listened to heart-wrenching stories about families struggling to move on nine years later, people wanting to forget that such a gruesome event ever happened but unable to shake a memory that’s left them with the loss of a father or a spouse. Or a child.
And as my students left my room, I wondered how much they’d remember from the silent homage in my classroom. And then I asked myself the same question. Normally, the events of 9-11 rip my gut out for a day, maybe two. I pay it a profound yet fleeting thought and then I move on.
Well, no more.
Here’s how I’m going to honor and remember those who lost their lives on a fateful day nine years ago. EVERY DAY.
Here’s what you can do too.
LOVE—love your family. Your friends. Give them ginormous hugs and squeeze them like you’ll never see them again. Because you might not.
One particular story from the Channel One episode particularly touched my heart: a girl, now sixteen, lost her father. Their life had been perfect. Her parents never fought. She couldn’t understand why her father was taken away in such a shameless tragedy. For a long time she was bitter. Angry. But she knows her father wouldn’t want her to live her life like that.
Show the love, people. Love your neighbors, even when their music won’t let your kids go to sleep. Love the kid that irks the crap out of you on a daily basis. Love your enemies.
Love is just such a warm-fuzzy feeling anyway. It takes too much energy for me to hate somebody.
LIVE—live like you’re not going to see tomorrow. BE IN THE PRESENT. Focus on the here and now. Cause it could be gone. Like that.
KILL ‘EM WITH KINDNESS—there are enough haters in the world, why add to that? Instead, when some kid cusses me out because I “gave” him a forty on his test, I’ll smile politely before I send him to the principal’s office. And then give him a clean slate the next day. Perform random acts of niceties and when someone’s nice to you, PAY IT FORWARD—like, twenty times. Even a small act of kindness can make a difference in someone’s life.
HELP—help someone even if it means sacrificing your time or your money. Or your life.
I became a teacher because I have an incurable case of Change the World syndrome. Now I’m a writer for the same reason. I fell guilty for ignoring someone's plight in the past, but I’m going to correct that. NOW. I won’t make a difference every day in big wow-some ways, but I’ll drop what I’m doing and help my daughter with her homework or that friend who just hit a deer. Or that student who needs to talk after school because her life is messed up in the worst freaking way. BE THERE for someone. Today. You might not be able to help them tomorrow.
PRAY—pray incessantly. Pray for those who’ve lost loved ones. Pray for the victims of 9-11. Pray for your neighbor’s lost dog or your student’s ACL surgery. Pray about loss. Pray about success. And if you’re not a “prayer” person, I’m not going to shove my Christianity down your throat… just throw a positive thought someone’s way. Or just do whatever it is you do.
INSPIRE AND BE INSPIRED—I’m inspired by the passengers aboard flight 93 who fought and sacrificed their lives so that the crazies on board couldn’t launch their plane into the heart of DC. I’m inspired by my friend’s simple yet poignant blog post or the story of a fatherless child. I draw inspiration from my kid who tussles with a problem and finally has her "aha" moment. Shoot. Tree frogs inspire me.
And be inspiring. Be a positive role model. SMILE a lot. Do good deeds. You never know what little act will inspire someone else.
APPRECIATE—embrace what you have. There are days when I am not particularly crazy about my job, especially when I don’t have time for my family or time to write or time to sleep. But you know what? I work for a fabulous principal and I work with some of the most amazing people and I teach some of the most wonderful kids. And I have a JOB. Sadly, not everyone can say that.
SO I’m going to appreciate my job. I’m going to embrace my family and friends. I’m going to appreciate where I am with my writing. I’m going to savor the gifts and opportunities God gives me. You should too. Cause it could disintegrate in the blink of an eye.
DREAM—dream for a better tomorrow. Dream for a life without tower-busting terrorists. Dream you can change the world. And then get out there and freaking do it.
I’m not going to forget 9-11 so easily. I’m not going to forget them. The people who gave up their lives so others could have one. The people who suffer daily because they lost the person that meant everything to them. 9-11 will find its way into one of my books. More than likely—the one I’m writing now.
And when I do forget—I’m going to come back to this blog post. And remind myself why we should always remember the sung and unsung heroes of 9-11.