My father died in August. I've mentioned him in this blog before. He retired from practicing law in his sixties but then proceeded to do pro bono work for Legal Aid for many, many years. His mission was to fight for the rights of the little guy, the person in poverty, the person whose life had led to desperate life situations. He fought for what was right, and he saw the good in people in all walks of life. He believed strongly in the right of every person, old or young, rich or poor, right or wrong, to legal representation, and he lived those beliefs working tirelessly and for free practically until his dying breaths.
This all comes to mind again this week with the passing of President George H.W. Bush. I watched the reactions of the various pundits, the current and previous Presidents, his political adversaries, and his friends. All I could think was how much I disagree with those who believe we can't honor the good a person does in a lifetime without agreeing with every life or policy choice. I felt the same way as I watched the celebration of Senator John McCain's life. Both of these men, despite many things I would disagree with politically, lived lives of public service and have long lists of good things they did for this world.
What, you may ask, does this have to do with education?
Our schools are microcosms of this political society. They are filled with people from all walks of life with thoughts and opinions as diverse as snowflakes on an Iowa winter day. However, they are also filled with people, staff and students, who are trying to make a difference in this world. We don't always agree on the best way to do that. Sometimes we make poor decisions and stumble along the way. Yet, despite our differences, we are all here learning together. We are committed to one another. Let us debate our educational beliefs strenuously, but let us always see the good in one another, especially the good in our students, and always honor that.