We Forget What We Don’t Always See

I’ve spent the last few days in New Orleans, Louisiana.  Having never visited this city before I was very excited to check out the Audubon Zoo, Aquarium, the French Quarter, and more!  And those places didn’t dissappoint.  It was all beautiful.  But there was also another side to New Orleans that was on constant display.  A heartbreaking side full of pain and poverty.

As I walked the streets with my wife I was constantly brought face to face with people who had lost everything, had health issues, or were just laying out drunk or drugged.  And as I passed by all of these people I kept thinking to myself, “How did we let this happen?  Why aren’t I doing anything to help people like this?”

Because you see, what I came to be reminded of was that this is happening all over our country.  In every city across America people are struggling, families are struggling.  And if we’re not one of those families on the brink of living on the street, and if we don’t live in a community where that is put on display, then we forget.

We forget the pain, we forget the loss, we forget the people behind those eyes.  And when I walked by a mother with two of her young children sitting with her on the street I was also reminded of my students.  How many of my students go home to no food?  Or no electricity?  How many of my students have to take care of siblings because mom or dad doesn’t come until later or may not come home at all.

I guess I write this to remind all of us to stop for a moment and really look beyond what we see in our classrooms, or in our homes.  Some of our students or even friends are going through things that some can’t even imagine.  Don’t forget them.  Don’t trivialize their trials, and don’t turn a blind eye.

Let us take a moment to see the pain, to feel it in our own hearts, and together let’s find a way to make things better.  Together we can change things.

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