Last year, as my three daughters left for their first day of school, I let you all in on a little tradition in our home, New Shoes and the First Day of School. Somehow the clock kept moving forward and today marks the beginning of the next school year here in San Francisco. I get all teary, because it seems as though every first day is one more reminder of both the gift that it is to nurture and shape our children as well as the struggle it is to let them go into the world to grow into who God intends.
Letting them go into the world of school each year is difficult as each of our children becomes a unique human developing wonderful particularities, quirks and gifts that will lead them down a variety of roads throughout their life. But . . . I also know that there is great joy is watching one's children not only discover new things about the world, but to discover new things about their own yearnings and gifts as individuals and as a members of a larger community.
And while I would love to think that the ways in which my wife and I parent has a direct cause and effect on the development of our children, I am not so arrogant or foolish. We know our parenting is important, but we also know that we owe a great deal of thanks to the teachers in our lives who have answered a noble calling to public education. Recently public school teachers have received an unfair shake by some who have tried to paint broad strokes about educators which I believe are simply unfair and fail to give teachers the respect and due that is deserved. Yes, there will always be teachers who fall short of the idealized educator, but for anyone to think that public educators are in any way wholly taking advantage of a system are, with all due respect, misinformed. In my opinion, the ways in which society has "protected" those in the teaching profession is not about bad teachers, but about freeing teachers, people who have chosen one of THE most important professions in society, to teach. I have written much more about this in previous posts, One More Christian in Support of Public Education and Three Affirmation for the San Francisco Unified School District, but for today, on this first day of school, I want to publicly say thank you to the teachers who have been such an important part of our children's development into who they are and are becoming.
There are so many things to be thankful about when it comes to those who have taught our girls over the years. We have hopefully expressed our gratitude in more than these few words, but here are just a few more to remind you that there are many who truly appreciate the commitment you have to all children to whom you are charged to teach.
You know who you are . . .
- Ms. C. - for creative ways in which you help children express themselves;
- Ms. B. - for your adventurous spirit that allow kids to dream;
- Mr. M. - for the humanity you bring that helps kids become genuinely good people;
- Ms. Z. - for the obviously love you bring in helping our kids learn how to learn;
- Ms. W. - for the commitment you bring to the whole child and the exploration you encourage;
- Mr. R. - for the trust you give young people to become better individuals and a better community;
- Ms. T. - for the passion you bring to the classroom;
- Ms. C. - for your creativity and integrity with which you challenge children to learn;
- Ms. S. - for the honesty and challenge you bring to the classroom;
- Ms. V. - for your commitment to the body, mind and spirit of each child that you teach;
There are countless middle school teachers, coaches, administrators and other parents who have played a huge role in the educational life of our kids and for you we are grateful as well. If you know a teacher, whether or not your kids are in public education, please take a moment to share a word of thanks.
Have a great year and again, thank you!
PS: The picture above is of my oldest daughter on her first day of school now nine years ago. With great joy and trepidation we send her to a another first . . . high school, and the beginning of a new adventure. For some reason she is not all that keen on her mom and dad walking her to her first day of class dressed in matching Hawaiian print and camera in hand. Sheesh Mom and dad are proud of you and we hope you have a great first day!