"It is in the shelter of each other that the people live. " - Irish Proverb
"Give what you have to somebody, it may be better than you think." - H.W. Longfellow
The ties that bind us as teachers to our students, their parents, and the community are so important. Even though I knew that power beforehand, the events of the past two days have made it ever more evident.
Wednesday night, I received a message via phone and police alert saying that a woman was missing and endangered. This is a woman whose children I have taught, who is herself a remarkable teacher, and one of the gentlest souls I know. All night was spent connecting with people, trying to find out who knows what and how to help. Because she had been missing only since the afternoon, in the eyes of the public it wasn't "important" yet, but in the eyes of all of us who love her, it was critical.
By Thursday morning we had a large group of parents and staff from three different schools communicating via text and Facebook messenger dividing up hotels to call and credit card companies. My mother, who is herself a teacher, and myself were desperate to contribute and decided to look the old fashioned way.
Using both of our phones to stay in contact with the groups, we searched a former naval base, a beach, a mall, and a school; hoping in vain to find some sign of the car. But also approaching the matching cars with great fear and trepidation at what we would find. Exhausting one place, we started in another location and then truly as an answer to prayer, we spotted another car matching the description parked in the back of a lot. We pulled in and was never more relieved to find that it was in fact her, and that she was hurting and confused, but okay!
She has a difficult road to recovery, but one of the things I can share is that she kept saying, " I can't believe you're here. I can't believe you found me." That is going to stick with me.
Driving around, looking, wasn't difficult to do. Some people might have even thought it was a waste of time. In fact, midway through, one of the messages received was that the family believed she could be anywhere in California. It was a small effort with big and amazing and wonderful results.
In giving our hearts to the children we teach, we also extend that love and sense of unity to their parents. It is that sense of love and community that makes a school truly successful.