A nation looks at the bombing suspects in Boston and asks itself: Is it religion? Is it negligent parenting? Is it the chaos of cultural upheaval? Is it an innate evil that gripped those young men? Maybe we will never know what toxic cocktail produced such a callous disregard for life and limb.
But as a teacher, there is something else I read into the stories as they emerge. I see a kid who was captain of his wrestling team, and I know that there is a coach who poured his heart and soul into nurturing the good in this kid, and that coach is grieving. I see a kid who had a scholarship to college, and I know there are teachers who saw potential in that kid; who taught him, wrote him recommendation letters, and who tried their best to nurture the good in him, and those teachers are grieving.
Every day we pour everything we’ve got into ground that is sometimes fertile, but often rocky, and we just don’t know where seeds will take root, where they’ll be hopelessly quagmired in problems too deep for us to overcome, or where they’ll be violently cast aside. Every day the job is tough, but I salute those coaches and teachers who tried to turn a life in the right direction, even when they cannot succeed.