I have a small farm. A few days ago I noticed that one of my rams was missing. I searched and finally found it. My guess is that it received some kind of head-butting, mating season, broken neck injury. As I was burying the ram I thought about how it was scheduled to go to the slaughterhouse this month and while I was sad because it died, I also lost one year of labor, feed costs, and the income from its sale. While it hurt my “farm budget” it really won’t impact my family. My life did not depend on that ram living or dying. I am a part-time farmer, and while it is a for-profit enterprise and my family relies on the meat to nourish us, it just doesn’t matter if it died. I will be just fine.
I thought about the people that raised sheep on my property 150 years ago. They would have depended on that ram for their lives, and each sheep and plant they grew would have taken care of as though their life depended on it-because it did. Taking care of their crops, their animals was more than a job…it was their life.
I teach. It’s just a job. My life does not depend on whether I put in a good effort, or a great effort. That is simply the reality of the position. I could put in four less hours of work each day and still get paid the same amount. I could deliver the curriculum in a non-personal, traditional way and it would not matter. I could just “do” the textbook with the teacher book worksheets, and teacher book quizzes and tests and it would not matter. I could ignore every problem my kids have in their lives and it would not matter. My life does not depend on it. When it comes right down to it, it just doesn’t.
What if my life did depend on it? What if each kid was like a lamb that I depended on for my life? If it was sick, would I give it the best medicine I was able to find? If one came in limping one morning would I stop it to find out why? If one was threatened by wolves would I protect it? If one was a runt, would I give it extra feed? If one had a poor mother, would I step in with extra attention and nourishment? If the barn was leaking, how long would it take for me to fix it? If I had to mend a fence, would I put up a temporary fix, or do it right the first time? If my life depended on it the answer to all of those questions would be yes. Do you do the same for your kids?
Tomorrow treat one, just one kid, like your life depends on them.