September 4th, 2008
S.B. dressed up for work. Looking beautiful as ever. Coffee mug in hand. Up into the big, old pickup truck. Exhaust rumbling as she eases down the road. Takes a right. Makes her way to school. An Art Teacher, but because of poor planning and inept leadership, she is teaching third grade. She was all prepared to teach art. Has been working hard on lesson plans, fresh ideas, discovering ways to help these kids learn, not only about life, but about the bigger picture. That they are worthy. That
they can reach incredible heights.
Her planning and thinking has not gone to waste. She's been doing her best to make sure that these third graders are starting out on the right foot. Someone has to. The school is not only lacking a third grade teacher (S.B. was told that someone was hired and that they start next week), but it's lacking supplies. Not enough toilet paper. Copy paper. Not enough paper towels for kids to dry their hands.
But the greatest country on earth has spent 872 billion dollars on war efforts. That's in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ever since we decided to go after the axis of evil, we've been doling out money to destroy evildoers and neglecting important matters at home.
Don't get me wrong. National security is important. Without men and women fighting for our freedoms, we wouldn't even get an education. We wouldn't have to worry about if we had enough toilet paper, paper towels, or school supplies. And I wouldn't be able to sit here and write about things without fear of being thrown into prison, taken into a field and shot, or strung up for a public beating.
But what about our internal struggles?
Neighborhoods falling apart. Jobs disappearing. Children wanting and needing guidance, education, and love so that they don't end up lost in this big wide world.
Everyone can be something. Everyone can reach up and chase dreams. But nobody has gone it alone. All of us were born. Cared for. Protected. Provided with the basic neccessities for survival. And most of us were fortunate enough to have continued care, an education, opportunities to rise up and make the most out of ourselves. And some of us, even now, are striving. Doing what we can every day to make this world a better place. By caring for our children. Loving our wives. Sealing cracks around the windows. Planting trees. Reaching out and making a positive impact. Most of the time, without even knowing.
Opening doors for others.
Saying THANK YOU and PLEASE.
Giving kudos and making improvements instead of complaining and being complacent.
Reading and thinking and participating in whatever ways we're able instead of sitting back and letting others make decisions for us.
Yes, I believe that there's more good in this world than bad. That it's never too late. That even the simplest act of kindness and being considerate of others helps to keep this old rock turning.
But we, as a nation, as human beings with more in common than we want to admit, need to buck up. Be aware. Take responsibility for our actions. Take care of each other. Identify what's truly important in our lives, prioritize, and move ahead in life being humble and aware.
But maybe that's too much to ask.
S.B.'s at school by now. So are the other teachers. Ready and waiting. Another day of patience. Effort. Trying to reach children. Help them learn. Grow. Seize opportunity.
And the parents are rolling into the parking lot.
Rims shiny and spinning.
Bling sparkling in the morning light, as they posture themselves.
Cell phone on the ear.
Dumping off another generation. Unaware that we are losing them. One by one. Despite the best efforts of people waking early, fueling up with coffee, and getting into old pickup trucks, so that maybe, just maybe, we'll lose one less kid. To apathy. Greed. This internal war that keeps on festering.
(copyright 2008 by K.J. Stevens)