In high school and at the beginning of my college years, I was never really one to get passionately involved with politics or controversial topics. While I certainly always had my own opinions and convictions, I never felt the need to push them towards other people.
As I began to gain more experience and knowledge in my college years, I began to become more confident about voicing my opinions and what I thought to be important to share with others.
Fast forward to August of this year when I accepted my first full time teaching job at a charter school in Columbus, OH. This school is filled with students who represent a beautiful variety of colors, personalities, and interests. This school is also filled with students from a wide array of family situations, life experiences, and socioeconomic statuses.
In light of the most recent events in our nation and the experiences that I have had in the past couple of months teaching my first ever class, I feel like now more than ever is the most important time to speak up and share.
No matter what political party or candidate you identify with or support, I believe that the following message should apply to all:
We must fight bigotry and hate by spreading love and light wherever we go and with whomever we encounter.
November 9th was a tough day in my 4th grade classroom. I had several of my students quite literally in tears due to the emotions that they felt as a result of the election. To my students, many things are still very black and white. They feel afraid and confused as to why someone who seems to be spreading hate and unkindness was chosen by our country to be our president. It was one of the hardest moments of my (albeit not very long) teaching career to look these 8 and 9 years olds in the eyes and somehow explain to them that despite the election results, we must love.
Despite the way we feel, we must rise above and spread this love to everyone around us, even the people who we don’t like or feel like deserve it. Despite the way that people treat us, we must always treat human beings with respect and kindness. I truly believe that love can and will transform people and, in turn, will transform this world that we live in.
As a believer in Jesus Christ, I believe that my life should be characterized by love. Is this something that is always easy? No. Not by any means. But it is important and it is a goal that I believe we should and can always be striving towards no matter who we are or what we believe.
We must speak up. We cannot stay silent. We must be bold. We must make a difference.
We must love.
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter” -Martin Luther King Jr.
“Láska” is Czech for “love” (seen on the John Lennon Wall in Prague).
“Láska is forever”
words and photo by Meredith Blair