I know it’s been a while since I wrote. Lots of thoughts in my head. I needed to let them out on virtual paper, or my head would have exploded, metaphorically, of course. The last day of school for students and staff was four days ago. The news of the separation of children and their parents at the borders, seem to have culminated last weekend and spilled out of control with such fierceness and intensity as the week progressed.
As it does, as every school year ends in June, I go through a feeling of intense worry and concern about many of the students I counsel throughout the year. I worry about their safety and security and comfort as we break for the summer. I worry if they are getting enough to eat and if they are safe in their neighborhoods and if they are going home to an empty, violent or non-existent house. So many of our students have come here from other places and all they want to do is learn. In loco parentis…feeling and bearing the responsibility for children in my care during the school year.
I am the daughter of immigrant parents who came to this country as adolescents under the threat of harm by the Nazis. They were bullied and targeted as they prepared to leave Germany with their families for safety. Despite their stoic mantle as they were displaced and relocated and settled into life in New York City, their future lives from that point on was marred with traumatic memories that impacted them as adults and as parents. Their fears (more my mother), were projected on their children, and their worries about taking risks , safety and trust, were imbedded in our psyche.
I feel somewhat sandwiched between my role as support to many children who have been raised in far less than perfect upbringings, and my role as a child of traumatized parents who grew up in difficult times. I watch and listen and read the news of current events and can’t help but identify with both the parents and the children.
In a conversation long ago with my father, when I was the age he was when he came to New York, I asked how it happened that the Nazis came to power and how his awareness of what was happening in Germany then came to impact him and his parents. He said that they heard bits and pieces but that there was a different type of media and propaganda and that “we didn’t believe what we heard might be happening”. My dad was buried nineteen years ago this past Father’s Day. That fact, along with the current state of the political discord, was hardly lost on me.
The cycle of history just turns and turns. Worry and inaction cancel one another out. More questions, less answers.