A teacher at my school quit this week.

The details are pretty much what you’d imagine—difficult class, young, inexperienced teacher.

I know teaching is hard, and it’s not for everybody. And I really don’t even think it should be. The idea that teaching is as an easy job that just about anyone can do is part of what’s been keeping this country from having a consistently exceptional school system. Still… when I heard the news, I was mad.

How could she just quit?? Doesn’t she know those kids need her?
Can’t she see how impossible she’s making it for everyone else to manage
their already over-full plates? What’s wrong with her?! Why couldn’t she just…
Stick it out?
Do a better job?
Get it together??!!

At first, I couldn’t imagine what I’d say to her when I saw her on her last day at school. The more I thought about it, the more I fumed.

Until I started to get… that feeling. The uneasy one that usually starts in my stomach and winds up in my throat. Why was I getting so mad about this? I mean, shouldn’t I be glad? Isn’t it better for those kids to have a teacher who feels intellectually, emotionally and spiritually strong enough to do a really difficult job well each and every day?

Seriously, what was my problem? If I was being honest, my brooding, uber-welling of rage just didn’t match the severity of the situation at hand… As I reluctantly took my foot off of the blame pedal, I could feel an internal tectonic shift. Ancient pains scraped up against one another, until it became pretty clear:

Oh, right. My dad left us when I was nine. He’s the quitter I’d really like to give a piece of my mind to.

Blech. I hate when I realize my façade of having my emotional shit together turns out to be… a façade. It’s just so darn easy to forget that the wounds of childhood run deep. Like underneath EVERYTHING. I sighed and acknowledged the Universe’s reminder that we’re all walking around every day unintentionally bumping up against one another’s festering bruises and scrapes.

And I suddenly knew exactly what I’d say to that teacher who quit when I saw her…

“I know this is hard… How about a hug?”