Thursday, November 19, 2009


Our school lost a good teacher today.

Questions are integral to my job, but today I fielded questions I couldn't answer. Why did this happen? She wasn't old. She didn't seem sick. She was just here in her classroom. Why?

I don't know why.

When I lost my mom to cancer, I asked the same question. Why? Seven years have passed, and I still can't answer it. I don't imagine I'll ever have the answer.

I have learned from the experience, and that's what I shared with my students. Sometimes things happen out of the blue with no rhyme or reason. We can do our bests to lead healthy lives, but sometimes genetics or plain bad luck kicks us in the teeth. Moments like today are an inevitable part of the human experience.

What do we do about it? We love each other every day. We lift each other up at every opportunity. We take a breath and reach for patience when we want to bite someone's head off. We thank the people who have gone out of their way to help us, and we apologize to the people we've hurt. We use the moments we have to do the best we can.

Our lives are short, but we have the power to extend our influence well beyond our allotted days. Hundreds of students have been changed for the better because of one good teacher. Those students have gone on to great things, and they've influenced more people...ripples in a big pond.

I don't know why this terrible thing happened. I can only strive to make my ripples...count.


  1. While I don't know the circumstances, I can feel the pain of your loss. My wife's father is dying of cancer, with probably less than three months to live. Even though he's always been distant, we finally had to tell my boys (age 10 and 5). Children have an amazingly strong bond to their grandparents, even though they have only spent very limited amounts of time with him. Their pain right now is very real. They are losing a man they love, and quite sadly, is totally undeserving of it. But that's a story for another day.

    The pain you have has to be worse - this is someone who has contributed so much, and cut down far too early. Perhaps the questions tell us more than answers ever will.

    Take care - fight the good fight - do what's right and noble while life allows. And above all, love.


  2. Thanks Carl. My boys were 11 and 8 when my mom died, and they were very close with her. It's impossible to explain something to them that you don't understand yourself. You're absolutely right...all you can do is love.