Sunday, April 15, 2012

What does a firefighter and a teacher have in common?

I recently had the opportunity to visit four local Fire Departments where I live. These visits were meant to encourage the firemen and women who courageously serve our community each and every week. I mean, the last time I checked choosing a profession in which you knowingly run into burning buildings is the epitome of courage! These visits were just a small token of our appreciation. Some friends of mine and I went with gifts of baked goods to express our gratitude. Overwhelmingly, the four visits were accepted with open arms as each department welcomed me and my friends inside to chat, show us around their station, and just talk. The conversations we had that night were blanketed with this sense of stress. At any time the firefighters could get "the call." In fact, two of the four visits did not last but a mere five minutes max due to being interrupted because of an emergency. At the conclusion of the night, as I reflected, I could not help but also notice the other sense that blanketed these men and women. It was a sense that I feel from educators, sadly, all too often. It was a sense of being under appreciated. The final station visited on this night was one in which the station's Captain extended his hospitality to us in such a way, you thought he may have been a concierge at a five star hotel in his former life. He was positive, thankful, hospitable, welcoming, kind, mannerly, calm, and gracious. At one point in our conversation he made a comment that resonated with me in such a way that I felt compelled to share it with anyone who would listen. At first, it seems as if it is just a plain ole comment. But, if one listens closely, it is much deeper than just the 10 words that comprise the statement. "It feels good to know that people are behind you." Shhh... Listen close... If you do, you will hear someone who wakes up each and every morning to give his life for others, to work specifically for his local community, to serve, to sacrifice, to teach, to help, face adversity, to deal with people, to lead others, to rescue, to give hope, and to give his life away if need be. Our firefighters do this for average salaries, for little praise and recognition, enduring too many challenges with the government, and being stretched beyond the resources they can provide and the little resources they are given in order to do the job they are charged with doing. Just like the firefighters who lay their life on the line, I want to thank all educators for all you do: giving YOUR lives for others, working specifically for your local communities, serving, sacrificing, teaching, helping, facing adversity, dealing with people, leading others, rescuing, giving hope, and giving YOUR lives away if need be. I applaud you, am behind you, and encourage you to stay the course! I am with you. #edudream

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