This picture was taken on my first international trip- Paris. Paris was my first exposure to a fabulous, exciting world full of possibilities outside of my own comfort zone in the San Francisco Bay Area. I fell in absolute love. The year was 1995. I was 17, carefree, and living life without fear.
It was a wonderful world to live in! I felt I could do anything, go anywhere, and become whoever and whatever my heart and head desired. The world was mine. It was all of ours. It was welcoming, inviting, and full of possibility. I was fearless. We were fearless. In my mind, there was nothing stopping me. It was a wonderful state of mind in which to be present. Little did I know, little did any of us know, that the world was going to change in a big way a few short years later.
This was my world, our world, before Columbine, 9/11, Sandy Hook, and now Paris. We no longer live in that carefree world that once was. Evil and terror come in many forms- forms we probably haven't even seen yet. However, I strongly believe with my whole being that love, a shared purpose of doing what's right, and compassion for one another are stronger than any form of evil and terror that may present itself. We are stronger than this. Paris is stronger than this. Our world of good is stronger than this.
I hope to live my life as an example of this. I hope I show it everyday to the teachers and kiddos with whom I am so very fortunate to work. I hope I show this to my family and friends through my day to day actions and words. I hope I show this through a smile to every stranger I pass on the street. I hope I show this to the seven kiddos who call me Auntie Chris.
My sincerest hope is that those seven kiddos, my past students, and future students find the world that I found in Paris when I was 17. They deserve the same right I had- to live a carefree life, full of love, without fear. It is my hope that we can help them create that world again. I find great inspiration for this in the powerful words of Mahatma Ghandi...
You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.
If we come together as one world with a shared purpose of love, doing what's right, and compassion, it is my belief that we can find this world again. We can do this through our day to day actions and words. We can do this by giving a loved one a hug first thing in the morning. We can do this by smiling at the person making our coffee and asking how their day is starting off. We can make it happen by offering a helping hand to a colleague in need. We can get there by saying kind things to our neighbors, spending time volunteering for a worthy cause, and telling our children- rather, showing our children that they matter and they deserve a better world.
The evil and terror, those few drops, cannot dirty our ocean- our world. We are stronger than this. Paris is stronger than this. Our world of good is stronger than this. We cannot allow a few drops of dirty water to pollute our ocean, our world, our lives. I believe our kiddos can find that carefree world that I found when I was 17 in Paris. They deserve to find it. It's our collective job to help create that world again. Let's start with those day to day words and actions. Please join me in living a life full of love, a determined purpose of doing what's right, and unwavering compassion. We can all set our world right again. We have to do this- for our kiddos, for our future, for their future.
Much love and peace, friends...