I started working with children when I was 15 years old. A local daycare hired me to come work after school until closing. Within a few years, I was totally committed to the school age group of kids, planned their summer program, and had a blast spending time with those kids. Since then, I have spent a decade teaching fifth graders.
Through those years I watched kids fall victim to abuse and neglect. I placed calls to the police or Child Protective Services on several occasions. I attended funerals for children who lost parents to drug overdoses. I gathered clothing for a couple after their homes burned. I even had one child who slit his own wrists at home, and then he tried to stab himself while at school.
Many of these kids are adults now. I don’t have any contact with them. I often wonder if they are doing well, or if the vicious cycles of poverty and violence swallowed their lives.
As teachers, we help when we can. We report circumstances in hopes that government agencies can assist the families when they struggle. Most of all, though, we pray!
At night, when praying for my own two kids, I often find myself praying for my students just as hard. We have two students in our school right now who just lost their father to cancer. We have some who are barely hanging onto their homes due to financial hardships. For others, school is the safest place they go.
When you say your prayers tonight, remember the children around you. I don’t just mean your own kids. Look at their friends and those in their schools who need your prayers.