Today is the 36th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision which, along with Doe v. Bolton, legalized abortion on demand across the United States. My wife reflects on the meaning of the day:
Every week, a collection of young people move through my classroom. Every year is different. Every class is different. Every period is different."Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?"
I play a sort of game with myself every year. It's more of a challenge, really. I challenge myself to learn one unique (and positive) thing about each student. It does not matter what, exactly. Some of these positive traits are easy to see. Some are bizarre. Doing this helps me to appreciate my students a little better, and reminds me to treat them with care and respect to the best of my ability. I also find that in those moments when they drive me nuts it helps me to be a little more fair.
What is interesting is what happens when someone is absent. The empty desk changes the room somehow. There is a piece missing. There is a gap where a vibrant (or at least quietly scintillating) personality usually sits. Even when one of my quieter pupils is missing, the difference is noticeable. The classroom feels incomplete somehow.
There are nearly 50 million empty desks out there right now in our schools, in our workplaces. How many gaps are there in our world that someone should have filled? How many of those singles on e-harmony are looking for a soul-mate who never given a chance at life? How many of our friends, siblings, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews have been lost to abortion?