A Reason To Be Thankful

Last Friday night, our school hosted a second-round football playoff game.

2 Works For You Image
2 Works For You Image

Just days before, the opposing team’s community of Guthrie, Oklahoma had suffered a devastating fire at an apartment complex that destroyed the homes of several students and resulted in one fatality.

When a chiropractor, Dr. DeClue, from our community of Skiatook, Oklahoma heard of it, he made a Facebook post encouraging everyone to pitch in to help.

In partnership with the schools, people began to respond in a big way.

At Friday night’s football half-time, Dr. DeClue, on behalf of the community of Skiatook, presented the principal of the Guthrie High School, Chris LeGrande, with an envelope containing $6,300 in donations.

Other donations like blankets, house-goods and clothes were delivered by our athletic directors on Monday.

It was a heartwarming scene when the members from supporting rival teams stood mid-field arm-and-arm. And the visiting Guthrie fans gave our town a standing ovation.

We may have been rivals at a sporting event, but that night, we were also friends and neighbors.

Trying To Keep Perspective
Sometimes it is difficult for me to remember the positives of why our calling is such a blessing.

I have lots of reasons to be concerned: low teacher salaries and benefits, increasing unfunded state mandates, etc.

Last summer I was talking to a retired principal friend of mine and confessing how difficult it is for me to encourage my own children toward becoming teachers.

As a wise former teacher and coach, he kept his response short and to the point.

“Tell me. Since you’ve been an educator, have you ever not been able to put food on table?”

“No, sir,” I answered.

“Then if you have the choice to make ends meet in a job as rewarding as serving others, why would anyone want to ever do anything else?”

Needless to say, I was humbled by his response.

Along with me, you may have valid concerns about how our schools and teachers lack necessary support from our state.

I wholeheartedly believe that our concerns must be communicated to the public and especially our elected officials.

At the same time, regardless of the politics that often frustrate process of public education, l also want to encourage you that you should be proud to be an educator.

Yesterday afternoon I was watching as my nine-year-old making a spear from an old stick, some paper, and duct-tape. His brow was crinkled in concentration as he ripped tape and expertly made his wraps.

My eleven-year old and fourteen-year old daughters were practicing clarinets. Each one had her hair pulled back in a pony-tail, and they took turns arguing about breathing and giving pointers on finger placement.

My oldest daughter and my wife were hunched over the table with paper and pencils, making a shopping list for Thanksgiving dinner: sweet potatoes, pecans, pumpkin, turkey, and ham.

My children are growing up fast, and someday they will answer their own callings.

Maybe they will be educators. Perhaps they won’t.

Either way, I want to them to follow callings that serve others. And I want them to grow up with examples of schools and teachers who are doing it right.

This Thanksgiving season, I want to say thanks if you are one of them. In the face of never-ending challenges, thanks for choosing to serve. Thanks for being a part of something bigger than yourself.

Thanks for being an educator.

Now It’s Your Turn
I know great things are happening in your schools or on your teams. What are some reasons you are thankful for the place where you’re planted? Share with the rest us.

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William D. Parker
William D. Parker