What I Know

michelle-in-front-of-yonahI 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.

14 thoughts on “What I Know

  1. Absolutely one of the best perspectives I’ve read on this issue. No matter who sits in the big chair at the desk, the people doing the work are still the same. Great reminder – and so true on all counts!

  2. You have probably seen me delete a post or a video or two on Facebook once in a while. I feel your pain (laughing). I’ve written about politics for a long time, and I can say that neither side is following the Consitution, in fact, it wasn’t mentioned much in this election cycle.

    I still spill over at times and feel that I just HAVE to say something. Nevertheless, it’s often futile. My biggest observation is that people don’t think about or use basic deductive reasoning anymore; moreover, this is true not just in politics, but in many different facets of their lives. We have the world at our fingertips, and yet, we are as entrenched in stupefaction as ever in recorded history. And, much like you say in this post, I find myself biting my tongue or simply staying away from the news because it’s a waste of time and energy to care, it seems. The older I get, the more concern I have for the souls of my fellow man rather than their party affiliation. Good post.

  3. Good post, dear Michelle; you’ve expressed what, I’m sure, many are afraid to voice aloud. Since I’m Canadian, I won’t touch the politics part of your post except to say that our family can’t talk about this subject for very long either. 🙂 So many teachers blessed me when I was in public school. It was an English teacher, who gave me a bookstore gift certificate, that inspired my writing more than all the other ones; through that award I was introduced to my first inspirational author, Catherine Marshall. It didn’t surprise me to later learn this teacher was a Christian. I suspect she prayed for me–I needed it–a lot.
    Blessings ~ Wendy

    • That’s a great story Wendy…hmmm maybe one to write? haha So many times teachers do things for our students and we never really know the impact it had on them. I can tell you there is more prayer in schools than anyone knows… 😉

  4. Hi Michelle,
    Of the individuals from Two Drops, you are the one who touched my heart the most. I don’t want to imply that the others were any less supportive and helpful. Your writing always struck a note of genuine compassion and filled with God’s love.
    In my zest to get my writing accepted, I lied. Not an easy thing for others to accept or forgive. I don’t want to expound on the subject other than to say I hope someday to be able to get beyond it.
    With that said, I want to comment on you post. Of the people I follow, you are the one I knew would struggle the most with the current political climate. Yet, you are the one I knew who could put it in perspective. You have done this with this post. Great writing again.
    However, while I read this, I remembered a piece you wrote a few weeks ago. I went back to reread it. I want to quote from part of this powerful piece. In doing so, I feel you revealed the answers to the questions and the issues you raise in this post.
    From “Incarnation” by Michelle Gunnin
    “…The flesh was ripped open and still the question…what does it all mean? Confusion. Searching. Curiosity. Then the light from the tomb, and glory seeped out to become visible for a time. Understanding. Lightbulb moment. The flesh was but a vehicle for the LOVE. The body a home for the hope. All wrapped up…like a gift at Christmas. All that had to be done was for it to be unwrapped, the outer layers pulled off to reveal what was inside. It was a gruesome unwrapping, yet the gift inside was beyond expectation. Glory, freely offered. Grace, liberally given. The only requirement was to receive it…still is.
    Receive the incarnation, God with us…so we can have God IN us, still veiled by flesh…our own. Still sought out by the curious. Still hidden away in unusual and unexpected places…in hearts, not buildings. Still recognized when spirits leap and ask the question, what does it all mean? Emanuel. God with us…”
    Amen and God Bless

  5. I stumbled upon your site and this post is my first. It’s thoughtfully written and so true. I work in a public school and everything you stated is absolutely true. Teachers love their kids, regardless of their ability or background. They work hard to make sure their students learn and stay at school late nights and on weekends. They stay up late at nights worrying about them too. Thank you for recognizing their steadfast commitment. 😀

    • I have been a public school teacher for 20 years, and even though I no longer work at a school I still find myself teaching. In my newly formed educational tutoring and consulting company, my partner and I find ourselves still teaching every day, and these things are all still just as true. Teachers have been blamed and made the villain for every problem of society and they need encouragement. I try to give it. 🙂

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