When I look at photos of the innocent faces of youngsters slaughtered in Newtown, my thoughts take me back to the first day my son went to school. Both of his parents were teachers, so he was well prepared for that golden milestone in his life: his first day of school. We had convinced him that education is a marvelous thing, school an exciting place and studying the mysteries of life, the earth and universe a fulfilling and incomparable delight.
About to leave the house that morning for his maiden day of education, my son said,” Daddy do you want to hear me say my ABCs?”
He recited them.
“And will you listen me say my numbers?”
“Certainly.” He counted as far as he could. “Son, I’m proud of you. Goodbye and have a good day. See you tonight.”
After what happened in Newtown, I’ve mentally rerun the above scene a thousand times, and I know if it took place today, it would play somewhat differently. My son, no doubt, would still recite his ABCs for me and still “say his numbers.” And then I would add, “But you didn’t mention the most important thing I taught you about school.”
“Well learned. I’ll see you tonight, son.” As soon as he had closed the door I’d add, “I hope.”
And then…I’d cry.