It’s a forgone conclusion that anyone asked what they are thankful for will say their family, friends, job, etc. I will not run the risk of sounding redundant here. Instead, I am thinking outside the box and providing a thoughtful and meaningful response.
I am thankful for the Superstition Mountains of Arizona.
What? No, I have not fallen off my rocker just yet. The Superstition Mountains can be seen from most everywhere I live. I turn down a street to go to the library, and there they are, standing majestically in the distance. You should know I go to the library a lot. When I first moved to Gilbert, Arizona, I knew no one and the library became a second home for me. Besides the books providing comfort and a burgeoning inspiration to write, as I sit by the floor to ceiling windows of the library, I can see those towering mountains in all their beauty. They whispered to me one day, “You have a story to tell. Go write it.” And I listened. TRINITY, A Brethren Novel, was born. Now I wonder if I should sacrifice my first born novel to the mountain. No, I think I’ll present it to the world instead.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the state of public education and public opinion.
I’ve been an educator for over twenty years now, and never in my career has public opinion towards teachers been so negative. So negative, in fact, that state governments are systematically dismantling a structure that I’ve depended upon to provide for my family. Laws have been passed by legislators in Arizona to address the “deadwood” in public education that is creating a ripple effect through the entire system, and a new poverty class is born– the educator. Since moving to Arizona and securing a position here, I have not had a raise, health insurance has risen, and the security I once had in terms of tenure is now gone. Now I don’t want to hear from all the business people out there tell me there is no job security in the “real world”.
Let me say this. I have been trained well to educate your children to be productive, viable citizens. I would think society would want to secure our jobs given the amount of education and training many of us have been through. I counsel your children when they come to me about serious family and friendship issues. I am with your children more than many of you are with your children on a daily basis. I directly influence the future of our society by being the best role model possible for your children, so they may be inspired to make goals, reach for the stars and grab them. I do this because it is my calling, it is my career. But that doesn’t mean my services should be freely given. I, too, have a family that I must provide for. From my vantage point, if you value your children, you must value education, pay educators a decent wage, and treat us like human beings, not slaves. When my own children have to be on reduced lunch, it is a crime. When I can’t afford to live where I teach, it is a crime. When I’m expected to do more and more without being paid for it, it is a crime. I am an educator, and I make a difference in your family’s life. But I have had to sacrifice my own family’s well-being for yours.
Now that I have begun to work my other passion, writing, I can see a more positive outcome for my family. And yet, what about the hundreds of thousands of others whose only passion is teaching? What of their families? Something must change. Educators do not deserve to be treated as second-class citizens.
I thirst. I thirst for the guy in the leather pants and wings.
Yes, he has wings. Indeed, I have a major-league crush on Michael, my Brethren Protector from TRINITY, A Brethren Novel. He is one beautifully sculpted man, er angel. I’m so very glad I get to look at him every time I open my laptop. Maybe one of these times he’ll fly right off the screen and into my life and answer my wicked prayers…