Commentary

When you attack teachers, school boards over pandemic, you’re attacking your neighbors | Opinion

Our children are watching how we behave, and they’re learning from it. What lesson do you want to leave for them?

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By Jill Sunday Bartoli

The global pandemic has taught us that we need the best of each other to survive.  As we learned in the past, change is hard but necessary for survival. Remember the seatbelt resistance and ultimate transition?  Remember measles and mumps before vaccinations? Remember polio and iron lungs for kids before vaccines?

Since the covid pandemic began, we have seen both the best and the worst from our fellow humans. Amazing acts of kindness, caring and generosity have touched our hearts, giving us a glimpse of the society we all yearn for. People drew on the divine spark within all of us to reach out and help their neighbors near and far.

In countless ways we found our untapped capacity to work together for the common good. We were able to unify and collaborate around shared values of empathy and compassion, justice and fairness, and interdependence. These are the great examples and legacies that we can leave to our children so that they can build a more united, more fair and just, more caring society in the future.

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It is heartbreaking to see some of this legacy being squandered in attacks on the teachers and administrators who are painstakingly caring for the health and education of our children. Violent school board meetings with masking protests and misunderstood, misguided curriculum opposition are all too common.

We need to trust those who are doing their very best to educate and care for our children or we will lose the people we so critically need.  And indeed, we are losing our teachers by the thousands. Likewise, we are losing the nurses and other caregivers we desperately need.  Can we find more ways to treat teachers, administrators, nurses and doctors with the respect and dignity they so richly deserve?

If our children see us as the respectful, caring, generous people we are at heart, they will be inspired to become like us. May we continue to draw on the divine within us to teach our children to create the caring communities we can all embrace and celebrate.

Opinion contributor Jill Sunday Bartoli, of Carlisle, Pa., is a former educator. Her work appears frequently on the Capital-Star’s Commentary Page. 

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