Another school year has come to a close. My 36th. We just came back from our big send off for the retirees from our district this year. They are leaving some big footsteps to fill come August, and I wish them Godspeed as they start the next chapter in their lives.
Last weekend, we graduated a pretty good group of young women and men. They are also starting the next chapter in their lives. I trust we have done all we can to prepare them for whatever challenges and opportunities they may encounter.
Started reflecting on where I was at that point in my life, and all that has happened since. My brother and I were raised in a home where we were taught to take nothing for granted, ask the hard questions and be ready for honest answers. This was in the late 1960’s, early 1970’s, we had a lot to talk about.
The quotation I selected for my senior year book was from George Bernard Shaw: “Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream things that never were and ask why not.” Mom and Dad would be proud that I have lived up to that a few times.
During one of the many sleepless nights I have caused myself during my career, I watched “The Man of LaMancha.” There is a speech in there from Don Quixote called Life As It Is. I have paraphrased it, thought of it as the retirees were honored today.
For what it’s worth:
I have worked in education for over 35 years, and I have seen Life As It Is. Pain, misery, cruelty beyond belief. I’ve heard the voices of God’s noblest creatures, His children.
I’ve been a student, teacher, and administrator. I’ve seen my colleagues at each level drop out, walk away, or die more slowly by putting in their time.
I’ve held them as they left. These were people who saw Life As It Is. They left despairingly, no commencement speeches, no retirement farewells.
Only their eyes filled with confusion. Questioning why. I do not think they were asking why they were leaving. But why they had ever come in the first place.
What we do at times seems lunatic. But who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness. To surrender dreams, this may be madness. To seek treasure where there has only been poverty may be madness. To nurture hope where there has only been despair and resignation may be madness. Too much sanity may be madness.
But maddest of all is to accept Life As It Is, and not As It Should Be.
I’m already ready for August, another year of opportunities to make a difference. Bring It!
And so it goes…