My plan for my post was to update the market statistics that I sent last Monday. I just cannot bring myself to do that. There is something on my mind that is bigger than real estate but it does have to do with communities and what matters most. The tragedy that occurred on last Friday in Newtown, Connecticut has my mind preoccupied. Every time I drive by my children's elementary school, I find myself looking at it in a different way. I'm looking at all of the doors and entrances and realizing it could have happened here, in our community and at our school. In one interview, I heard a person from Newtown say, "I thought it was safe here". I know that feeling and I also know that now we are all feeling a bit less safe.
Like others, I am trying to find a way to cope with the sadness I feel for the families who lost their loved ones on Friday. Sending condolences is one action to take but I've had an overwhelming feeling that I need to do something more. As I sat in Church with my family on Sunday morning, I thought about the stories of the actions of the Sandy Hook elementary school teachers, principal and school psychologist. Their heroic actions surely saved the lives of many students and sadly, some of them also lost their lives. I've read stories of teachers who took their students to closets, to bathrooms, and into corners. They kept the students quiet, told them they loved them and that it would be ok.
On Saturday afternoon, at my son's basketball game, I chatted with two local high school teachers. The issue of Newtown came up along with the arrest last week of a suspect in the Vanessa Pham murder investigation. It struck me in that discussion how much the two of them cared for their students and grieved when tragedy struck one of them.
As a young woman, I witnessed a murder at the county courthouse in my hometown. I was there to visit my father whose office windows overlooked the front doors of the courthouse. A deputy sheriff shot and killed his estranged wife who was on her way to a meeting with Internal Affairs. Although the shooter was dressed as law enforcement, it was immediately clear that this was not an action he took in the line of duty. It was something more personal. I remember feeling shocked and confused. My father tried to call "911" but was frozen for a moment, holding the phone, trying to process what to say. I was frozen in front of the window. He yelled to me to get away from the window and lock the door which I did in a robotic way. It was hard to think and hard to move, yet the teachers and staff of Sandy Hook Elementary were able to fight through the shock and to act to save lives. I am in awe of them.
The action I've decided to take is to send a letter to my children's school principal and ask her to share it with the teachers and staff. It will say something like this, "The tragic events of last Friday have reminded me of my appreciation of the work that you do. Every day you receive our children and we entrust you with their care. We never know when they may fall down, get a bump, bruise or stomach ache and we never know when something worse may happen. But, we do know that you will care for them and do everything within your power to ensure their well-being. I am full of gratitude for the work that you do".
The families in Newtown are not able to express their appreciation to the teachers and school officials who died trying to save children's lives but I know that they want to. If you are like me and looking for a positive action to take, consider sending your own letter to your children's school. Use my words or write your own.
The Realtors at Plum Street Properties know that when you buy a home, you also buy into a community. Home buyers with or without children, often look at the neighborhood school's performance on standardized tests and other statistics to evaluate the school and the community. What you cannot see online or in any report is the extraordinary gifts that teachers give to students every day. A school is not just bricks and mortar, not just results on exams. If you are looking for a new home, go visit the schools in the community where you want to live. Get to know the people behind the statistics.
Our prayers are with the Newtown community.