Shedding Tears of Hope and Joy as Children Make America Great

by on March 29, 2018 · 0 comments

in Education

March for Our Lives – San Diego. Photo by Frank Gormlie

I’ve lived a life
among children,
as a child initially, obviously,
and who knows how many
young ones there are
with whom I’ve had the honor
of being in their company
as their teacher
or their vice-principal
or their principal
or as Mr. Ernie,
a creative artist
turning them on to writing
prose and poetry
and moving to music
and play acting,
improvising scenes
from their lessons
or from their everyday lives…

Large crowd of youth holding signs at March For Our Lives rally

March for our lives SF (Photo: Roger Jones/Flickr/Public Domain)

So many hugs and high fives.

I’ve loved the energy of that world
every second
and every minute
I’ve spent in it,
as children never cease to inspire me…

And seeing them on tv, recently,
in all their glory,
marching and chanting
by the millions,
standing both boldly and innocently
at their full height, passionately
speaking and singing
in amplified voices
for their very lives,
made my heart prance
like a ballerina or danseur
and sing like an Irish tenor
or an opera colatura…

Never has my being
been more vitalized,
or my hearing
and my sight
and sense of touch
been so utterly mesmerized,
prompting tears to flow from my eyes
like water falling
from a gentle stream
during the first melting of snow
in the spring.
Tears of hope.
Tears of joy.
Tears rising
from cries of
“Enough is enough,”
from wishes for a future wherein
no other children
will have to face lunatics with guns,
a future, indeed, when children
will be more valued than guns,
a future when an idea
like teachers bearing arms
would be seen for the harm
it might form…

Tears born
from these young people’s declaration
that they can’t wait to vote and unseat
the nation’s politicians
who, pun intended,
are owned, lock stock and barrel
by the NRA;
tears springing
from truths
these teens gave life to:
the truth that they
haven’t been
seriously listened to;
the truth
we haven’t owned up to,
that black boys and girls’
concerns about guns in their communities
haven’t ever been listened to;
the truth
that the problem can’t be solved
until we, the citizens,
all of us, are listened to.

But, oh, did my tears ever flow
when, in my mind, I came to know
what Emma Gonzalez,
a young woman we’ve all come to know,
was up to
when she spoke so briefly
and ever so eloquently
and then stood silently
for 6 minutes and 20 seconds, totally –
the time it took for the shooting to occur
at her school,
comprising, for me,
the most powerful performance
on a stage
I have ever seen,
bringing me to an understanding
that the times, they truly are a’changing,
and our children are paving the way
to this better day
and we need to get in step
alongside them
and support them
and encourage them
and learn from them
and defend them
and respond to them,
and, when needed, push and guide them
and be open to being pushed and guided by them
and trust them
and mirror them
and, when the going gets tough,
hold them close and love them
and when the time comes
vote for them
because they are making America great
with an exhilirating life-affirming determination
that is light years beyond the hyperbole
embodied in the empty promise of making it great again
which begs the acknowledgement
that the 21st Century might finally be in able hands.

And for that I will forever
shed tears
of hope and joy.

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