We Are Responsible

My principal shared this poem with us at our Faculty Meeting last week. I don’t usually get all sappy about these kinds of things, but this one seemed to get to me. Enjoy!

We Are Responsible

We are responsible for children, who put chocolate fingers everywhere, who like to be tickled, who stomp in puddles and ruin their new pants, who sneak popsicles before supper, who erase holes in math workbooks, who can never find their shoes.

But we are responsible of those who stare at photographers from behind broken windows, who can’t bound down the street in a new pair of sneakers, who never “counted potatoes,” who are born in places where we wouldn’t be caught dead, who never go to the circus, who live in an “X-rated” world.

We are responsible for the children who bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions, who sleep with the dog and bury goldfish, who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money, who cover themselves in Band-Aids and sing off key, who squeeze the toothpaste all over the sink, who slurp their soup.

But we are also responsible for those who never get dessert, who have no safe blanket to drag behind them, who watch their parents watch them suffer, who can’t find any bread to steal, who don’t have any rooms to clean up, whose pictures aren’t on anybody’s dresser, whose monsters are real.

We are responsible for children who spend all their allowance before Tuesday, who throw tantrums in the grocery store and pick at their food, who like ghost stories, who shove dirty clothes under their bed and never rinse out the tub, who get visits from the tooth fairy, who don’t like to be kissed in front of the car pool, who squirm in church and scream on the phone, whose tears we sometimes laugh at and whose smiles can make us cry.

And we are responsible of those whose nightmares come in the daytime, who will eat anything, who haven ever seen a dentist, who aren’t spoiled by anyone, who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep, who live and move but have no being.

We are responsible for children who want to be carried and for those who must, for those we never give up on and for those who don’t get a second chance.

For those we smother . . . and for those who will grab the hand of anybody kind enough to offer.

By Ina Hughes

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