We already know that scores for students in private schools tend to be higher. The question is, is that because they’re from more affluent families…or is that because the schools are doing better? If you go back for a generation the research suggests that there is a private school effect, that even when you control for background factors, private schools seem to be more effective, particularly for certain populations, at boosting their achievement.
Yep, this traveling around the world business isn’t exactly our idea. There’s actually quite a few families that do this all the time, and some even call themselves permanently “location independent”—they spend their lives traveling from one place to another, without a home base to call their own.
Wherever I went — and wherever I go now — with my fluffy (or braided) hair, there was and is a nonblack person, from the very young to the very old, openly wishing he or she had my hair; asking to touch it (which is its own problem); wondering with awe, “How do you get it to do that?”; remarking, “Cool hair”; or admiring it, like Heidi Klum, who thinks that the hair of her kids is so “pretty” that she saves it in a bag. (Further proving my point, it was Klum’s collecting habits that led to Sheryl Underwood’s misguided comments on natural hair.) In the lily-whitest of places, it seems to be A-OK, but in the black world, I’ve faced the most adversity.
“Fight Club” may have been a good movie, but it makes for really bad theology. Mark may see things like “kindness, gentleness, love and peace” as feminine, dainty things for pansies, but the Bible calls them the “fruit of the Spirit.” These are the things that God is like. We need only look at the cross to see what perfect love looks like when it stares evil in the face – love forgives, love dies, love does not kill. Jesus was not violent, and surely not passive. Jesus shows us a “third way” that is neither fight nor flight. He teaches us that evil can be opposed without being mirrored, oppressors resisted without being emulated, and enemies neutralized without being destroyed.
Knowing dysentery was a real killer, we guarded our hearts for a little while there…we had been warned the disease was going around when we accepted the referral. However, we found it to be extremely difficult and preposterous to guard our hearts to eliminate growing feelings for our own children. I hoped—made myself believe—the twins would be stronger because they had each other, and the fact that they made it past the first round of deaths sent my hopes up, too. I grieved for those first little ones who died early on, and I hurt for those families. You can definitely love a child you’ve only seen in a picture, and I knew those families were hurting.
“Why do you think she did it?” I asked as we stepped back into the sunlight. For that’s all any of us were thinking, had been thinking since we got the news. Mustn’t Tiffany have hoped that whatever pills she’d taken wouldn’t be strong enough, and that her failed attempt would lead her back into our fold? How could anyone purposefully leave us, us, of all people? This is how I thought of it, for though I’ve often lost faith in myself, I’ve never lost it in my family, in my certainty that we are fundamentally better than everyone else.
President Obama has never spoken about these meetings. Yes, he addressed the shooting in Newtown and gun violence in general in a subsequent speech, but he did not speak of those private gatherings. In fact, he was nearly silent on Air Force One as we rode back to Washington, and has said very little about his time with these families since. It must have been one of the defining moments of his presidency, quiet hours in solemn classrooms, extending as much healing as was in his power to extend. But he kept it to himself—never seeking to teach a lesson based on those mournful conversations, or opening them up to public view. Jesus teaches us that some things—the holiest things, the most painful and important and cherished things—we are to do in secret. Not for public consumption and display, but as acts of service to others, and worship to God.