The blogmaster of Infidel Bloggers Alliance recently asked contributors to send in their thoughts on "This Is How It Was, 2006," and essays from around the world are being posted over the next two weeks. Below are my thoughts.
The faces in my classroom – how can I explain what I see?
I work with groups of homeschool students, ranging in age from ten to eighteen. The younger ones don’t remember what the world was like before 9/11. But the high school students do remember. Furthermore, these older students are news hounds and follow both national and international developments.
Here in the D.C. area, air cover and Norad drills occur with some frequency and can come at any hour of the day or night. Sometimes we know in advance of the drills, sometimes we don’t. And occasionally the military jets and helicopters roar overhead during class. If the noise is prolonged, I see the worry on the faces of my students. They look to me and to any parents present for affirmation that they are going to be safe. If the roaring goes on long enough, someone makes a cell-phone call to the outside, just to be sure.
Right after 9/11, the older students, especially the boys, would puff up and brag, “We’re going to beat the enemy. We’re going to kick them back.” But now, none of the students talk like that any more. The realization of the enemy’s strength and persistence has set in. And I see that realization on the young faces in my classes. Sometimes their faces don’t look so young. I see furrowed brows and worry lines, and eyes too old.
Since Ahmadinejad has ramped up his rhetoric, the mood in my classes – especially in my American government and American history classes – is solemn. Second-semester classes began in January, and this second semester my students are subdued, not their normal selves. They haven’t given up hope, but they are wary of what the future holds – their own futures and the future of the free world.
I reassure my students as much as I can. But I won’t avoid discussing the difficult facts of world developments. I won’t lie to my students, and I won’t utter meaningless platitudes. We talk openly of the Global Jihad and of how, in the past, other totalitarianisms have been defeated by sword and pen. I try to communicate both hope and reality, but sometimes world developments make that balance hard to attain.
The faces of my students remind me of how important the future is and of what’s at stake as the West faces the Islamofascist attacks upon and the Islamifying subversion of Western civilization. And even during class, I am always listening for the sound of scrambling jets, especially when the day holds a cerulean blue sky like the one we had on 9/11.