A Snapshot of Pure Joy

I apologize for my extended absence. Things are all in a whirlwind here as I prepare for the move to Spain in a short month!

There was a moment that I truly did want to write about however, a moment that made me want to shed tears of sheer joy but also tears of profound sadness.

I was riding the train home last weekend when a rather large family came on and sat across the way from me. It was a very young couple and their four children, the oldest one being around six and the youngest probably around a year, and their grandmother.

It was like watching this incredible film about a joyful and loving family. All of the adults had smiles on their faces, and all of the children were ecstatic. The mother started singing the alphabet with one of the little ones, while the father blew raspberries on another’s belly. This continued on and on for twenty minutes and it got to the point where the whole train car was filled with the children’s shrieks of laughter. The raw joy and happiness on the children’s faces and on all of the adult’s faces was contagious. I was bursting out laughing with them, especially when the baby was laughing so hard he drooled on his father’s head, who then proceeded to wipe it off with the baby’s shirt.

It is so rare to get a peek into other people’s families (other than in movies where everything is idealized) and though this was just a snapshot of their lives it was truly heartwarming.

I’ve been working with adults all summer and it is proving to be a very sharp reminder of why I absolutely love and prefer working with children. Their carefree attitudes, the joy they find in life…my heart and soul thirst for it. And the most important thing for me is that I help to make the world a better place for them, to make it a place where families like that one always have an opportunity to have such moments. As we speak millions of families are living as refugees and victims of incessant war and killing. Millions of children are kept away from school, the result of fear of being killed/attacked/ridiculed on the way, or because they need to take on an unforgiving job to support their family. But every single child deserves to and has a right to grow up in an environment where they can continue to hold on to their carefree attitudes and their joy. Every family deserves the opportunity to have those moments where we are reminded of the true beauty in life. It’s not about money or fame, it’s about the connections between us all and learning to cherish them.

And so I sat there, wanting to cry because those moments were so precious and I was fortunate enough to witness them, but also because I thought of all of those children who are so accustomed to difficult ways that they don’t even know they’re struggling. But more than anything my determination was refreshed. It has been easy to forget my mission as an educator with a part-time job and the summer here, but really, those children are counting on me. As educators, we are the last line of defense between the children and the world…and if we don’t stand up, who will?

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