Without question, the gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., committed evil. Millions of prayers have been said by all of us. Who could do such a thing? What do we tell our own children, who thankfully came home from school on Friday, about an act so cruel?
Twenty minutes. That's the approximate time it took to rip 20 precious young lives and six of their teachers, including their principal, from this world. Moms lost babies and babies lost their moms. The hearts of 26 families have been thrust into a forever pain no one deserves.
Yet bubbling up from this insanity and death is a kernel of grace. The school intercom was left on to bear witness.
Training kicked in as teachers pulled children walking down the hall into class rooms, teachers read stories, prayed quietly and hugged their little ones close in tiny spaces. Teachers told their children over and over how much they loved them just in case they were the last words young hearts would ever hear.
Bravery is not on most job descriptions. Bravery cannot be tied to a test score. There's no "effective bravery" training. Bravery wells up from the core of a person's soul like a calling.
Please remember that. As we lift these 26 beautiful souls up in prayer, we must give thanks for the overwhelming bravery demonstrated by the teachers and administrators at Sandy Hook.
Teachers are "all in" for our kids. In our hearts, we all know it.
If parents and teachers both believe they would sacrifice their lives for the children they love and teach, it means we are part of a very sacred team. In the months ahead, each of us must make this an indelible part of our understanding of what it means to be a teacher.
As we continue to pray for peace, understanding and ways to prevent another tragedy, please takethe time to consider the teachers you know in this light.
-- Kathleen Oropeza is co-founder of FundEducationNow.org, a non-partisan Florida-based education advocacygroup.