There’s a scene in X-Men: Days of Future Past that has always stuck with me. In a desperate attempt to save all mutant life, Wolverine travels back in time to change history. The leader of the X-Men, Charles Xavier, can connect with his younger self through psychic power and his connection to Wolverine.
Young Charles has had a rough of it the past few years. First, he helped prevent a nuclear war. Then, Charles took a bullet to the back from his best friend, paralyzing him. His vision for a school for mutants has faded, as have his mutant abilities as he takes a serum so he can walk.
Unfortunately, the cost of walking is the loss of his mutant powers.
Once idealistic about the prospect of mutants and humans living together, Charles is pessimistic and afraid.
Through their mental link, Old and Young Charles speak about that fear and pain. The elder Xavier explains that the pain and fears of others will give his younger self the strength to carry on.
He pleads, “We need you to hope again.”
Educators. Principals. Superintendents. Parents.
The world needs you to hope again.
We need you to hope that our schools can make a positive impact on every student’s life. We need you to have hope that every student can learn and achieve at high levels in their way. We need you to have hope that education can be the difference in a child’s life, the difference between a continuing history of addiction, poverty, and abuse and instead beginning a life of purpose, a life of caring, and life that breaks free from the mold of the past.
We need you to believe that education is worth it for every child to overcome the struggles we have experienced and that have come to light since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We need you to have hope that scientists and experts in every area are once again respected and looked to in times of need and no longer ridiculed for providing unpopular answers to complex issues that do not fit with the plans and schemes of bullies in power.
We need you to believe that schools can help prepare the next generation of leaders to be empathetic and work with others to resolve conflicts and not resort to bullying tactics that only divide us and not bring us together.
We need you to believe that your work with students at home and in the community is as valuable as the work done in classrooms worldwide. You are your child’s first teacher, and we could not do this work without you.
And we need you to know that if the children you love are not your biological children, we love and respect the work you have chosen to do and are so grateful to partner with you on your journey. You are true champions.
We need all these things from you and ourselves. We need them like the flowers need the sun.
We need you to hope again. Because when we hope, fear takes a back seat.
Fear is the enemy. Fear has guided many of our choices in the past and continues to guide many today. Unfortunately, many believe that fear has driven us to make the wrong choices and that we are doing more harm than good by giving into fear.
We do not act out of fear. On the contrary, we act out of the hope that we have that there is nothing we cannot do when we work together.
We act out of the belief that our children can make the world a better place than we left them and that they will make choices that move us closer to a world in which every child has the same opportunity to live a life unfettered by the rot of our past.
We need you to hope again. Hope that this, too, like so many other crises throughout history, must pass. Hope that a brighter day is coming. Hope that we will overcome this, that together we can turn it around for us, for our children, and their children.
Hope guides us. It is what helps us carry on through our darkest days and propels us through the blackest nights into a bright new morning.
Please, we need you to hope again.