I sit here, not knowing what to write. My newsfeeds are full of political statements. My friends are on both sides of the aisle. Many are yelling at one another and I am taken by the polar opposite opinions, each saying the exact same thing about the opposing side. The names I hear, are liar, bigot, hater, idiot…and some not as nice as those. Each is convinced that the names they are using are correct, that they are the ones who see things clearly, and that the fog of deception is resting over the eyes of those simple minded fools on the other side.
The thing is, I don’t feel that anyone is simple minded, on either side. I think every person has valid reasons for their opinions. The miles and miles they have walked in their own shoes have colored their world a certain way. They have not walked in the shoes of another, so they cannot possibly understand things from a different viewpoint. Disrespecting others viewpoints is not very becoming. I also do not believe that solving our country’s problems is a simple matter, otherwise they would have been solved by now. It is not as simple as voting in one party or another. It is not as simple as slashing laws, banning things, or creating new policies. Both sides have tried this technique, and neither has succeeded in unifying our severely divided country. We are more polarized than ever, and most folks I know on both sides are deeply concerned about that fact. Yet, most of us are also passionate about our varying positions, and refuse to consider another point of view other than our own. It is a conundrum.
I am afraid of where all this self-righteousness will lead us. Our righteousness is as filthy rags…so the Bible says. Superiority is never a flattering character trait. In my experience, it requires a bringing low…a humbling. Humiliation is never fun, in my own life, God has found it necessary at times to show me that his ways are not my ways. Usually, this requires circumstances beyond my control, which bring me to a place of desperate prayer on my knees. Shocker of shockers, he doesn’t actually need me or my opinions to run the universe! Nor does he need the United States of America to fulfill his purposes on the Earth. I know that statement is heresy to many, but it is the truth. We are tiny dots on a small planet hanging in space, and our ideas which say we are more important than that are incorrect. We just need to settle down and think on that for a minute. Deep breaths. Our lifetimes are but a second…a mist that is gone before the blink of the eye of eternity. Governments rise and fall…only love lasts beyond human structures…because it is NOT human. It is beyond our capacity to stop it. Thank God for that!
You may have noticed I do usually not do political statements, or blogs. There is a reason for that. I know the passion with which beliefs are held. I respect that passion because it shows care. If you are a passionate person you are a caring person and you feel your convictions deeply. I am aware that I cannot change a person’s mind on any issue. I do not find the need to vent my own opinions to the world and receive hate mail in return. I do however, feel pretty passionately on certain issues myself. In my own household, we run from one extreme to the other. We have to set a limit on how much political talk can happen at family gatherings. We are all learning to hold our tongues to some degree, but also how to listen to one another. We have not yet mastered the art of listening with an open heart, to actually consider where we might be mistaken in our own views. We are working on that and will be, as far as I can tell, well into the future.
Education has always been one of my passions and therefore, I cannot always keep silent. I am trying to wrap my head around the appointment of Betsy Devos. I cannot understand how this will be a good thing, and I feel pretty strongly about this for a number of reasons, which I will not elaborate on here. Instead, I will try to think positive, and hope that such a huge change might be the impetus to bring the changes our schools so desperately need. Yet, even in typing those words I feel a knot in my gut that says otherwise. Time will tell. However, rather than argue and rant and rave over an issue I cannot change, I want to emphasize what I know.
I know that:
- Teachers love their students.
- Teachers will always teach, no matter who is in charge or what is changed.
- Teachers are passionate people, who use their passion as fuel to do the best job they can.
- Teachers care for ALL students, and that will be true no matter what happens.
- Teachers desire the best for schools.
- Teachers have strong opinions about what that looks like, and will vote accordingly.
- Teachers are bold.
- Teachers are some of the hardest working people you will meet.
- Teachers feel called to their profession.
- Public schools reach every child, because in the U.S. we believe education is vital to alleviating poverty and creating caring citizens.
- Public schools bring hope to those children who don’t have much hope at home.
- Public schools help families to help their children.
- Public schools are compassionate places.
- Public schools bring learning to life.
- Public schools are inclusive.
- Public schools teach life skills.
- Students in poverty need public schools and caring teachers.
- Students mature and grow in classrooms.
- Students learn how to be a part of a community in school.
- Students master content.
- Students make friendships and learn to relate to others.
- Students see what compassion looks like.
- Students grasp hard concepts.
- Students believe in themselves, when they accomplish learning.
Are our schools perfect? Absolutely not. Any teacher, parent, or student can tell you that. However, learning takes place in classrooms and it always will. So while things in Washington change and the wind blows in new directions, know that teachers will not stop teaching. Schools will go on, and students will continue to learn. No matter what happens.