Tuesday, April 05, 2011

There's A War On

From It's Like Herding Cats

It's hard to tell we're at war most of the time, even in a military community like this one. We don't see much of what the preparations are even though we know they are going on. We don't get a running total of the cost.

But I saw part of it yesterday. In a fifth grade classroom.

The day was part of my sprint toward teacher certification. My task was to observe a teacher all day, noting the way she interacted with her students, how her lesson plan played out, and how the students reacted. It was about what I remembered from every elementary classroom I've been in - mine, the boys - every one.

Except for Meg. (name changed for privacy reasons)

Since I was supposed to be part of the furniture, I had borrowed a desk chair from one of the kid's stations and stuffed myself in the far back corner. Next to Meg, it turned out. She was new - had been here one week. Was a member of a military family who had moved here from Germany. And her Dad was leaving yesterday.

Meg had cried all last week off and on, the teacher said. She cried all morning yesterday.

It wasn't the work - when the teacher came back and sat down with her, she praised Meg for what she had done, made adjustments in areas she was lagging in, and assigned her a "buddy" (the girl who had moved here last before Meg it turned out) to help her.

Meg's world had changed - was changing - and it seemed to me that all that... broke her heart.

So I know that DOD cost overruns are awful, and I get what you are saying about defense as a % of our nations GDP. Oh, and I know that there are people out there we have to stand up to and prevent from enslaving people, taking away rights, taking lives.

But the next time you wonder what being at war costs, think about all the children like Meg. Her silent tears broke my heart.

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