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Minnesota Opinion: New 2014 grads learned to adjust to new normal

An editorial from a recent Minnesota newspaper.

New 2014 grads learned to adjust to new normal

RED WING — Lessons from class of 2014 include importance of caring adults in children's lives

Some were in school. Some were in child care centers waiting their turn. Others from the class of 2014 were still home getting ready for their new —kindergarten — deny "normal" changed for everyone that morning of Sept. 11, 2001.

No longer were wars something that young men and women went off to fight somewhere else. War had come to America.

Frightened parents flooded the telephone lines. Bewildered students looked for nods of reassurance from cooks to secretaries, from janitors . Priorities shifted. Public education changed. Patti Roberts, retiring Sunnyside Elementary School principal in Red Wing, puts it this way:

From this moment on, our focus on safety for our innocent and most vulnerable sharpened. Certainly, we had always been concerned about safety - but this was a whole new level of intensity. Along with enhanced safety procedures, we began to pay attention to the impact of news, reports, drills and warnings on the emotional wellbeing of our little ones.

Did they understand what was happening? Would they become easily frightened? Would it impact their sense of security? Would they be able to develop trust in those around them? How could we reassure them that they are safe … and assure them of one of their most basic needs?

Each person responded according to his or her strengths. That included the children who adapted and grew under the guidance of parents, educators and other adults doing their best to create a safe, secure community in a world unexpectedly more dangerous than it had once seemed.

Each generation has crucial events that shape how people think of themselves and their country: The Great Depression, Pearl Harbor and D-Day, the assassinations of President John Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., the space shuttle Challenger explosion, the 9/11 attacks and other moments to come.

If you look carefully, you can see a trace of 2001 in the faces of the confident young adults who accepted their high school diplomas with satisfaction. They wear it well because they've learned to bear it well - proof of the need for caring adults beyond mere parents in children's lives.

Class of 2014, we wish you as safe and as secure a world as possible. And when disaster strikes, we wish you optimism and resiliency — traits that many people put to work for you.

— Red Wing Republican Eagle