I returned Wednesday from a three-day trip to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. I went with colleagues for a conference on "Engaging Students Intellectually, Emotionally, Socially, and Behaviorally". All in all, it was a good conference. It makes me feel good to know that we're on the right path with our students. And while teaching will never be an art that is perfected, I think our high school is making some good headway. For all the complaints people have about the education system, there are some really good things being done, some in virtually impossible circumstances. And although I've probably said it before, I'm going to rant about it again. Teaching is hard work. Not only are teachers responsible for educating students in knowledge materials, we are somehow supposed to also craft responsible citizens, caring human beings, ideal workers who are able to engage people on an appropriate social level while being emotionally stable and intuitive. Teachers are supposed to accomplish all of these things and are also the only people held accountable for any of it. Forget parents, forget pastors, forget mentors, forget self-responsibility. Teachers are supposed to fix it all. And, all in all, I have to say we're doing a pretty good job, given what we get to work with.
Luckily, there are conferences on the beach to escape to! :-) I enjoyed my time walking the beach, combing through the sand for sea shells to give to my boys. It amazes me the wide variety of life the tide brings in. Aside from shells, shark teeth, sticks and an old butane lighter, we saw live sand dollars and star fish, algae and sea-foam. And although it was peaceful and beautiful, it was somewhat lonely as well. There's something about walking along the surf that makes me contemplative. Maybe it's looking out at the vast horizon sinking into the endless gray expanse of water and knowing there's nothing out there until you hit the coast of France. Maybe it's watching your footsteps disappear with each successive wave. Maybe it's seeing the assortment of shells in all shapes and colors and realizing that each have been carefully and artfully crafted by decades of salt and waves.
My own contemplations led to think longingly of my boys, all three of them. I saw myself walking along the beach holding Chris' hand. I saw Stephen running headlong into the waves, splashing gleefully with his daddy in the water. I saw Garrett under an umbrella on the beach, a plastic orange pail beside him, digging methodically into the sand to extract whatever treasures might lie beneath. And me, sitting beside him, helping him to craft a sand-art masterpiece.
But what my time at the beach really brought home to me was how blessed I am to have my boys, all three of them. It also reminded me to not take any time with them for granted because, like the footsteps in the sand, it goes too soon.
Blessings and Peace,