This Moment of Clarity [On Sandy Hook and Telling Adults To Shut Up Already]

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 1 Comment

This post was supposed to be about me.

The myriad of questions I’ve faced, the situations I’ve encountered, the tribulations of a Black-Latino NYC educator looking for reasons why our system continues to work against the interests of children, and the constant shaking of my head, not to the beat of whatever my iPod’s playing, but of the things I would deem adult problems.

My mood has been less Swedish House Mafia and more Marvin Gaye. “Inner City Blues,” not “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”

Raw disappointment consumed me. I preferred clouds and rain this past week. I tried to shake the funk. Honestly. No dice. My writing since Wednesday? Unfruitful. With children, I tried to be my usual Vilson, but with adults, my tongue unraveled less with snark and more than bite.

Then Sandy Hook happened.

What got lost in the midst of the conversation about this tragic massacre is that we didn’t just lose these innocent lives, but their voices as well.

Their hopes, dreams, and visions for the future in a world in dire need of real change, not just a shuffling around of things for compliance, all gone.

When we lost those voices, I found myself in a conundrum. How dare I speak on my problems when I’m still alive, still able to provide, still breathing.

Still teaching tomorrow.

Children all around the world, from Afghanistan and Egypt to China and Mexico, need listeners, people who hear their ideas about how the world should run. But first, let’s listen to the ones right around us. Our adult-ness gets in the way of letting children shine.

Ourselves, too.

Mr. Vilson, who will revel in math with students tomorrow, head high, chin up …

About Jose Vilson

José Luis Vilson is a math educator, blogger, speaker, and activist. For more of my writing, buy my book This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, on sale now.

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