“Dad, I’m coming home. The world is falling apart and teacher college forgot to tell me what to do when that happens.”
I was crying when I called my parents. I had been driving to work when I heard that the Twin Towers had been hit by an airplane. The man on the radio announced the attack and my whole body started to shake. I was no longer the confident, unstoppable graduate with a new car, a cell phone and my very first teaching contract. I was a frightened little girl who needed her parents. My Dad answered the phone.
“You can’t come home yet, Amee. You’ve got a classroom full of kids and a job to do. Those kids need to know that their teacher will do her best to take care of them. Once school is out, come home and Mom and I will give you a hug.”
I didn’t like that answer even though I knew my Dad was speaking the truth. I wanted to go home, and I knew I had a job to do. I had to go to school. I needed to acknowledge any fears the students brought up and then I had to follow our normal classroom routine for the day. It was what I could do to help. Dad offered to pray with me. He said a beautiful prayer. He prayed for the firefighters, for the people trapped in the building, for the people who were scared, he prayed for me, for my students, for our country, for the President, for every one who was impacted, for our family members who lived in New York City and that the world would have peace.
It’s been 15 years since that fateful day on September 11th. The world has experienced a few more fall apart moments. The lesson I learned from my Dad during 9-11 has stuck with me. I’ve thought about it several times over the years.
There are times in life when things occur that you have no preparation for and no idea what to do. When you don’t know what to do, I try to remember my Dad’s words to me on 9-11. Say a prayer and then keep going on trying to do your best. At the end of the hard day, go home to get a hug.