All week this SLICE has played around in my mind. It came upon a Tuesday night, and wrought havoc both near and far. It came with 90 mph winds and storms and tornado sirens. It came fast and furiously.
As tragic as all devastating storms are, no one lost a life in this one in our small community, thankfully.
What struck me and stayed with me all week was not the devastation but the immediate outpouring of support and help. Help and support that came from neighbors who also had damage of their own to attend to. Help and support that came just as fast and furiously as the winds of the storms. Help and support that showed up midst another round of storms well before first light was even a twinkling glimmer on the horizon. All during my seven minute commute to school that morning I was privy to signs that help had arrived and gone while many of us tried to get a few hours of sleep. There were already piles of debris by the side of the road rather than in the road. There were tarps on roofs, people everywhere cleaning up - and when I ran home at lunch there were still volunteers offering help and support where needed.
It so happened that on this day my students were writing letters to the editor for the upcoming Newspapers in Education Week advertising and student showcase insert. Many students had written about what they felt was lacking in our community. We need an Italian restaurant, a Sky Zone, a mall, a Starbucks or a Target, a travel football team, and lots more "needs." Without asking them to change their letter, I did challenge them to pause and look for signs of positives we have in our community.
The next day I had a few students who mentioned the damage and how their mom, dad, grandpa, uncle, friend, neighbor had helped someone with an immediate need. They asked if they could write about that instead of getting a new pool or building an indoor shooting range. I just smiled and told them, "Of course!"
Today we'll type and submit our letters. And I'm sure a few will bring tears to my eyes as I see my community through the eyes of a child - a child who recognizes that no matter how you slice it, we are very blessed to live in a small town where folks look out for each other.
A wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend, lifelong learner, educator