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Those Wesleyan students. How absolutely awful. I’m of an age (mid-forties) where I can put myself in everyone’s shoes in that story. Except the dealer. I can’t bring myself to try to fathom what makes someone sell bad drugs to kids. But I can identify with the students, because is feels like just yesterday I was rollicking around Hampshire College. I felt so safe and so entitled to experiment and play. I believed it was what I was supposed to be doing. I can identify with the parents, big time. My heart goes out to them. How terrifying to get that call. To rush to the hospital and see your baby-adult in critical condition because they took bad ecstasy. Devastating. I can certainly imagine how exposed all of the people in this story feel. The administration of the school having to “field” all the criticism and rubber necking. Everyone having to take responsibility for their part in the crisis.
And, of course, it leads me to a sort of “there but for the grace of god” moment that propels me toward my job as an educator, as a mom, and as a fallible human. That job today is to be honest with children, mine and other people’s, to model empathy and also self reflection, self care, and how to look out for others.
As the Jewish proverb says, “If your neighbor’s house is on fire, water your own.” In other words, we are not to find relief in the fact that a neighbor’s in crisis is instead of us. I won’t use others’ tragedies to somehow make me feel better about my “blessed” life. Rather, I will find myself among the suffering and hope with them.
Sending healing thoughts to those kids and their families and friends,