Witches and goblins, and ghosts—oh my! With a chill in the air and the leaves turning red and gold, school has now been in session more than 8 weeks. The media has been abuzz with stories on Halloween parties during school time, candy and treat distribution in communities and costume safety. At the same time, I’ve also read that parents are concerned about obesity and drug use, and that bullying remains an important issue for them too. On the national political front, a day does not go by that a candidate does not bring up mental health and gun control. We hear a lot about wealth versus poverty, disparities versus equity and advantages versus opportunities. Perhaps it is time for us to put on our superhero costumes and get to work!
To those of us in the school health business, we don’t just talk about these issues during election time. We live and breathe this reality every day and most of us don’t just talk about it, we chose our career paths to DO something about these issues. The great tennis player Arthur Ashe said “True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.” School health professionals are my heroes.
Over the next year, we are bound to hear a lot of rhetoric about making America greater, stronger, and somehow better. However, unless we pay real attention to the problems that impact our youngest citizens, the “non-voters,” we will never accomplish those goals.
It’s a scary time. Our resources are tight and the mood of the nation is fragile. We have another whole year of political rhetoric, new promises that will never be kept, and a system that continues to focus on special interests. Let’s face it, kids don’t vote.
Well, I know my special interest: kids. They are the future of our great nation—the world rests in the hands of those ghosts, goblins, and witches knocking on your door shouting “Trick or Treat!” How will you respond? Will you trick them into thinking that everything is fine, that everyone is truly created equal, and that great things are ahead for every child? Or will you answer the door wearing your superhero costume, offer them an apple and a pat on the head and get right back to work advocating for what is just, fair, and right? Every child deserves to attend a school where he/she feels safe, healthy, engaged, supported and challenged. And, oh by the way, happy might be nice too.
School health superheroes unite! The time has come to get your superhero gear ready. We have a lot of work to do!