I am envious of my child. He gets to soon be welcomed by an entire group of new teachers; each with something to offer, and a way of offering it, that will advance him in knowledge and skills that will render him, come next Spring, even better able to thrive in a complex, demanding, and ever-changing world.
He will also meet fellow students who will become friends, and not only comfort and amuse him but also challenge and inspire him to think more openly, act more decisively, and problem-solve more creatively than he could without them.
He is in a public school because our state and its taxpayers believe in education. There is always room for improvement, but he does benefit from a subsidized education. He is also there because of a network of a biological family who believe in him, and in his education, and are willing to sacrifice, greatly, to help him so that he may incrementally learn to ask for help, and to help himself, and then to offer help and be of service to others. He isdoing well in public school, in part, because of his church family that supplements his secular education with moral and ethical problem-solving skills, and a covenantal relationship to his spiritual peers who may include those often described as “the least of these.”
What a blessing to be the beneficiary of a public education.
My son is my last child to make this journey. But this is not the last child, boy or girl, blood relative or not, geographical neighbor or not, whom I have committed to assist on a similar journey. I pledge that as a church person, citizen, taxpayer and human being ~ I will remain committed to children everywhere as they pursue a public education. And I pledge that the counsel, challenge, inspiration, problem-solving skills, financial resources and mentorship that is afforded to our children by their educators ~ will also be afforded to the educators who need our help just as our children need theirs. At the genesis of yet another school year, congratulations and thanks to educators and public educational institutions that strive to serve all of our collective children.
Dwight Lee Wolter is the pastor of the Congregational Church of Patchogue on Long Island, New York. He blogs at dwightleewolter.com