Thursday, March 18, 2010

dear mr. woods...

Dear Mr. Woods,

The curtains are about to be raised as the opening of the 8th grade play, Willy Wonka, begins. But you are not there to share in the nervous excitement. Because of choices you made, you are not there to see the hours of hard work come to fruition. As the cast and crew takes their curtain call, you will not be standing on stage with them accepting the accolades of the audience. And it saddens me. It saddens me that you allowed alcohol to be more important to you than the students who were entrusted to your care. It saddens me that your addiction has clouded the joy that I am sure must have been there when you began sharing your joy of the theater with children. It saddens me that because you allowed a substance to rule your life, you are not there to encourage and congratulate the students as they go on stage this first night of performances. As I think about the memories this group of 8th graders will take away from this experience, it saddens me that the pride for a job well done will be tainted with the memory of your erratic behavior and your subsequent arrest.

And while I know you are denying the charges, I pray that you will get the help you need to overcome your self-declared alcoholism; control for yourself and for your wife. I pray that the accusations and rumors being Tweeted and Facebook-ed will not cause you any more troubles to have to answer to and overcome. I pray that you find peace and contentment within yourself so that you do not need to search in a bottle for your self worth. I pray that you can move forward and find yourself a better man next year as the curtain opens than you are tonight. And as much as I pray that you find solace for yourself, I pray strongly that you somehow make right the disappointment you brought to those 30+ students that watched you be handcuffed and taken away in a police car. I pray that you create an example of humility and regret; that you allow them to see that you are responsible for your choices. I pray that you somehow take this situation and allow a positive lesson to be taught; that somewhere in the midst of this ugliness, the children can learn that with accountability and honesty our failings can be overcome.

Mr. Woods, while you may not physically be in that auditorium tonight as the lines are said and the songs are sung, you are there in spirit. Your influence, both positive and negative, is with each of those students as they take on their roles and walk out onto the stage. You will forever be in the memories of those students as they think of Willy Wonka and their last year in middle school. You have left a footprint in each of their personal histories; an impression that will remain with them throughout their lives. Your behavior has changed them. Some a little. Some a lot. And they will take those changes with them as they go forward in their lives.

Mr. Woods, get help. Accept responsibility for your actions. Move forward so that the impressions you leave on the hearts of people in the future are ones of encouragement and strength. You cannot change the past, you can only try to make amends for your actions and strive to make your today and your tomorrows better than your yesterdays. Good luck to you.

the parent of a disappointed candy-kid