Dear President Trump,
On the way home this evening I heard an interview with the superintendent of Houston schools, Richard Carranza. He was discussing all the effort the school district is devoting to figuring out the extent of the damage to the schools and which contingency plan they will go with. He talked about the district’s plans to have all school meals be free and their efforts to make sure they have adequate trauma counseling available for students, teachers, and staff, acknowledging that everyone has gone through terrible loss and trauma this last week. He also noted that he’s been in touch with superintendents from other districts affected by major tragedies and said their advice was to accept that things will be very, very chaotic for the foreseeable future and to keep the needs of the kids first and foremost. As he spoke so thoughtfully about the needs of the students and the school employees I found myself tearing up and getting pretty emotional thinking how fortunate they all are to have this sort of leader. Mr. Carranza took the time to talk through the approaches he and his staff are taking to address the immediate and longer term needs of their charges without once referencing himself or bragging about anything at all; he just brought a caring, down-to-earth focus to the problems and how they are striving to best serve the children of Houston.
You’d think such ways of being wouldn’t be all that noteworthy, that most reasonable people would take such a caring approach, would see the multilayered challenges ahead, and would prioritize the needs of the people they serve. Right? But gosh was it moving and refreshing to hear him doing his job well. My reaction to him was much like my reaction to Hillary’s letter yesterday and I’m realizing how hungry (starved even) I am for competent, caring leadership. When life is just sort of normal it’s semi-possible to deal with a leadership vacuum since the focus is on how bad things COULD get if said leadership vacuum isn’t addressed but when things ARE bad it becomes painfully clear how bereft we all are of viable leadership at the top. Real leaders put their people first. Please step up and do this now.
May we all be safe.
May we all be happy.
May we all be healthy.
May we all be able to trust that our president wants these things for us.