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Another school shooting. And my heart breaks again.

For parents, protecting our children is one of our biggest responsibilities. Honestly, we feel safest when they are with us – under our watchful eyes and specially-tuned ears that can distinguish their “Mooooommmyyyy!” from a host of other similar calls. And when they are away – whether with a babysitter, at their first sleepover, at Grandma’s for the weekend, or just at a neighbors to play – we worry.

The first day of school is difficult too. I remember driving away from Jake’s kindergarten class three years ago with tears streaming down my face. I was so excited for him to begin this part of his life, but I cried that time was moving so fast and that he wouldn’t be home with me all day (and that I was clearly getting old). But I did not cry because I thought he would be unsafe. I was not worried that he could be shot. It didn’t cross my mind.

Now it does.

Overactive Imagination

I tend to have an overactive imagination and caught myself thinking what might happen were a shooting to happen at my children’s school. In my imaginings one thing was absolutely clear. My boys’ sweet teachers would do anything necessary to protect them. And the tears sprang immediately to my eyes. I found myself overwhelmed with gratitude for these women and men who choose teaching because of their love for children and their passion for teaching and guiding young people into adulthood.

We don’t pay them enough. Not for the hours they spend outside of class working on curriculum and decorating classrooms. Not for the countless time they spend communicating with parents via email or phone or a chat out in the carpool line. Not for the amount of excitement they manage to conjure up for the smallest improvements in our children’s behavior and scholastic achievements.

And we don’t thank them enough. Teaching is not just a job, it’s a calling. They have chosen to give their lives to raising our children along side us. Unfortunately of late, that statement has become all too literal. Nowhere in their job descriptions does it state that they might actually have to give up their lives for our children. But they know that is a possibility, and still they come to school each morning and greet our kids with smiles and love.

Paul tells us in Romans 12:7 that the gift of teaching comes from God. And I say, Amen! In these hard times, I hope the teachers in our communities will be encouraged by us and, “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen [them] with power through his Spirit in [their] inner being, so that Christ may dwell in [their] hearts through faith” (Ephesians 3:16-17). NIV

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By Joelle Yamada. Copyright © 2013 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelinesScripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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