Today started with a trip to my daughter’s Quaker school, where my wife and I sat with a half-dozen other preschool parents watching a Kindergarten class in action. We were all there to become convinced that private Kindergarten was really worth the extra money over public Kindergarten.

Two of the boys in the class were Haitian, apparently adopted at an early age. Watching them and the rest of the kids interact with their wonderful teacher, playing writing games and dancing in movement class, I was swamped with an unexpected sorrow. These children were free to be themselves, encouraged to speak and play and make mistakes. These children were engaged with everything discussed, eager for each new wrinkle, such as just what is Magic C, or who gets to be the “Ing King.” These children loved their lessons, their classroom, their teacher.

Yes, there are wonderful teachers a’plenty and many children who love school. Even in the twenty schools I visited in Haiti last November, there was engagement and playful resolve, particularly at AMSAI.

Watching the Quaker school Kindergarten, which my own daughter will likely attend next year, I couldn’t bring myself to feel happy about it. Yes, it was wonderful … the very pinnacle of all I have been working for these last three years.

But the sorrow overshadowed my happiness. All day I’ve tried to put a name to this sorrow, to feel out this darkened space and attribute causes and conditions.

The best I can come up with is inequity. Our own children have a room like this, while so many, many children do not. Were the parents that I met last year in Haiti to watch their children in such a room, they would think it a miracle. And but for the lack of money and resolve, this cannot happen.

So how to spend this extra money on my own daughter, money that could help educate a schoolful of Haitian children? How to justify my own excess?

The best I can say is that someday Isabel will grow up and help others, like so many of the bright humanitarians I work with now. In my heart I know this school will prepare her with a knowledge of the world that transcends test scores.

But this thought is not sufficient to dispel the sorrow. The inequities of this world at times feel as thick as fog surrounding. All motivation, I guess, for what we do.

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