Yesterday was a tough day. I awoke to the tragic news from Las Vegas and wondered when this violence is ever going to end.
Of course, America averages more than one mass shooting every single day. Las Vegas was especially horrific in terms of its body count, but by definition (a shooting in which four or more people are injured or killed), mass shootings are commonplace in our country.
With that in mind, it's hard to be hopeful.
Thankfully, I found a great deal of hope yesterday in the company of young people.
I started my morning with my two favorite people in the world. They crept down the stairs in the early morning light and sat beside me for breakfast. They colored pictures of rainbows and pink flowers, read books about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, played with the cats, and watched videos about how rubber is made.
Mostly, they talked endlessly and giggled incessantly.
Then I headed to school, where my 21 other favorite people awaited. We read books, solved math problems, told stories, and wrote about the truth behind Old McDonald's farm.
But even within the walls of our school, violence does not always escape us. Yesterday my students loaned $25 through our class's micro-loan account to a farmer in El Salvador after they learned that El Salvador is the murder capital of the world. Feeling empathy for someone living in such dire circumstances, their decision over which entrepreneur to lend to became an simple one.
It's easy to find hope in the optimism, passion, joy, and energy of young people.
Then I headed north, to The Berkshire School, where I spent the evening with high school students. I told them stories. I taught them how to tell their own stories and the importance of doing so. We laughed and even cried a little. We talked about authenticity, vulnerability, and connection.
One young lady shared stories of the way her brother has come to her defense time and time again. A young man thanked me for making him feel a little less alone in this world. Another student asked me how she might find the courage to share a story of her bisexuality with her peers.
These were engaged, intellectually curious, excited kids who wanted to learn something new and make the world a better place.
I drove away filled with hope.
On those especially hard days in America, when sadness fills our hearts and hope is hard to find, I recommend that you try to spend your day in the company of young people.
Spend time with your children or grandchildren.
Volunteer in a classroom.
Give a parent or parents a night out by offering to babysit their children.
Find a way to spend time in the presence of children or young adults. In no way will the tragedy of the day be mitigated by these young people, but your heart will feel better and the future will seem a little brighter.
On a day like yesterday, that is a great thing. Perhaps even a miracle.