Beware the Bears

Today is a big day for two reasons.

The first is Election Day.

I have not been happy with the ugliness and mean spirited spiritedness of the town supervisor race. Supporters and candidates have taken jabs every chance they can. Things are said and you don’t know who to believe. I hope whoever wins decides to work with grace, compassion, and class, and realizes that the school district needs help.

The school district needs the bond to pass.

The school district is the heart of the town.

The town council race, on the other hand, was totally different. I watched all five candidates and wished all five could be elected. They handled themselves with class, knowledge, and they all seemed as if they could hang out at a party and be friends. That’s what we need. People willing to work with anyone and everyone to make this town as great as it can be, instead of sneering and snarling at each other.

No matter who you vote for, make sure you vote. It’s a right and privilege, and every year I’m shocked more people don’t vote. We have become an apathetic society. It’s time to get involved and help make the changes we need.

No matter who wins, hold them accountable.

Raise your voice and stay involved.

It’s also a big day in the school district.

We are having a superintendents conference day and the district is trying something new.

EdCamp.

There are multiple sessions addressing everything possible that an educator could be dealing with today. It’s like a menu, and the district is using its own teachers as well as outside experts to facilitate the conversations and learning.

I’m teaching two sessions.

I chose to discuss what I feel is the biggest threat to educators and students today…

Trauma.

It doesn’t matter what program we choose to teach, or which standards we are told to use…

If the children are coming to us with trauma, they won’t learn.

Imagine you are in the forest, and you see a bear. Your body sends a signal to increase cortisol, adrenaline, your pupils dilate, your heart beats faster, your breath increases, and voila! Your body is now in fight or flight mode. You can fight the bear or run away.

Which is great, if you’re in a forest… and there’s a bear.

But what if the bear is in your house every night, disguised as a parent with a substance abuse problem? Or a parent who abuses you? Or the bear is a parent who is in jail and missing?

Or what if the bear is disguised as a bully, and follows you around in school? Or your family went through hell to escape their homeland where there was danger, and you are now in a new place where you don’t understand the language but know that the people around taunt you and Give you side eye?

Or what if you were born here and are a citizen, but because of how you look those same propel assume you don’t belong and taunt you anyway?

Or what if you don’t follow the societal norms and love you who love, or want to be who you feel you were meant to be?

Or what if your poor and can’t afford the cool

Kids clothes?

Having a bear follow you around all day causes immeasurable trauma. And no one is safe from the bear. I mention childhood trauma and people will think of others from poverty level backgrounds or different cultures. But actually, we all have trauma.

My own children are suffering every day with the bear. Our bear is cancer bear. They live with a bear that every day says their mom is going to die and makes her sick and lose her hair.

Trauma changes you. Emotionally… mentally… and physically. It actually gets under your skin and changes your DNA. It affects your immune system. It causes inflammation.

There was a study done and children with trauma are four times more likely to abuse drugs.

Twelve times more likely to attempt suicide.

Who cares about learning geometry when you don’t want to live?

Our country is great with public health crisis awareness… when it wants to be.

Drug campaigns, HIV/AIDS…

They are now waking up to vaping.

But WHY do kids vape?

It’s because they need to feel or escape from something in their lives.

Which is where my class today comes in.

Meditation, mindfulness, manifesting, yoga, breathwork.

Give the kids and adults some tools they can use to move through trauma.

Tame the bear.

I’m nervous, as it’s always harder to teach in front of colleagues. I’m loading up my car with extra yoga mats and blankets, essential oils, my portable speaker, tea light candles and flowers.

The teachers in my district have had several bears following them around.

We all know how much the bond is needed, and we’ve got people running in politics saying to vote no. They should walk through our halls someday. Bears.

We are dealing with an influx of students and are overcrowded. Bears.

We’ve got children who don’t speak the language and we have to educate them with limited resources. Bears.

We’ve got new programs .. not one.. but two.. to learn and navigate while dealing with overcrowding and language issues. Bears.

We’ve got different cultures and races clashing and we are tasked with bringing them together. Bears.

We’ve got townspeople and the usual commenters bashing the jobs we do, when they couldn’t even last a day if they were to walk in our shoes. Bears.

We’ve got our own lives and children and families and issues we have to leave at the door every day. Bears.

So today, I’m going to play some soft music, hand out lavender oil to rub on their hands and breathe in, and teach them how to relax, restore, breathe and reset their fight or flight so they can help others with the bears that follow them around.

I’ve only got a half hour.

I’m nervous but happy to be of service to these amazing men and women who are helping my own children as they deal with cancer bear.

I hope my class today is a gift they take with them and use every day as they face the bears.

May we all vote today and the best people for our town win. May they work together to make this town the jewel that it can be. May the staff of our district come together and learn and become energized, so they can go back tomorrow and continue to do the amazing work they have been doing.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

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