Everything has a cost.
Maybe it is a belief we stand for or something we value.
No matter what…everything has a cost.
This past week, I traveled all over Washington, D.C. during the Washington Leadership Conference. Countless markers and monuments stand as testaments that our principles, freedoms, and opportunities did not come freely or are maintained freely.
Whether it was standing in the center of the World War 2 Memorial where the lives of each soldier lost in the war are marked by a star with the words emblazoned beneath saying, ‘The Price of Freedom’. Or standing in the midst of the white-washed marble tombstones of Arlington Cemetery stretching across acres, marking the grave sites of our fallen heroes over the centuries.
Honoring these men and women who gave the last full measure of their lives ensuring our protected future was a humbling experience. It made me pause to consider how I was ensuring my time in the classroom was honoring to the sacrifices they have made.
During my time in college I struggled with my decision to pursue education. My parents felt I was wasting my future by pursuing a career that paid less than most other professions. (Since then my parents have been extremely supportive of my time in the classroom.) I flirted with geography, ag economics, and even potential military service. Yet, I still felt a burning desire to be in the classroom. It was in the agricultural classroom that I knew I could connect with students and help raise up future leaders for our community. I took the attitude that I must somehow instill qualities of character through my curriculum.
Offering opportunities to strengthen character through my curriculum has been a tremendous blessing to both my students and I. Providing students the chance to care and work with various livestock in my Animal Science class has taught the value of hard work and labor. Installing landscapes across our community has built in my students respect for their sense of place and an understanding that we each carry a stake in bettering our communities.
These may be intangibles that cannot be measured through a multiple-choice assessment, but I can see the impact from that glint in their eyes to their changing in topics of conversation.
Our time in the classroom is a valuable commodity. We have an overwhelming amount of standards and concepts to teach. Yet, the most valuable aspect of our classrooms are each of the students who are there. Some of these students will choose to wear a uniform of the armed services, some may choose to become educators, some may pursue a career in business or medicine.
Though there may be countless paths for our students to choose from, all of them require a strength of character. Let the time students spend in our classrooms be an opportunity to build that character and refine themselves for the life task before them. Too great a price has already been paid for us to squander the chance to prepare a new generation of leaders for our country.
Everything has a cost…so let us ask each day: ‘What can I give?’
Thank you to all those who have served and are currently serving our country in the armed services. Words and monuments will never be enough to express your sacrifices.