Some days teaching can be just a job. You go to work, you do your job, you go home. Anyone who says differently is selling something. Some days teaching can be frustrating and discouraging. Today was not one of those days. Today was the kind of day that reminds both teachers and parents why we do this.
Today, as we memorized the preamble to the Declaration of Independence, we talked about what it means. The hundreds of history lessons and thousands of words of new vocabulary paid off and the students began to understand what it means that all men are created equal and that natural rights are self-evident.
Today, we talked about the gulags and death camps of WWII and how those things can only happen if you deny the fundamental equality of man; if you deny the humanity of those you are killing. We discussed how the same denial led to chattel slavery and how we should be grateful the Founders’ words were better than their actions. How people would rather die free than live as slaves.
Today, we heard the story of the 300 at Thermopylae – those men who would live free or die. The students marveled that so few would stand against so many and that their stand, their deaths, would make all the difference. They wondered, some of them literally open-mouthed at Leonidas’s contempt of death and Laconic wit: The Persian messenger says, “We are so many, our arrows will blot out the sun.” “All the better,” says Leonidas, “We will fight in the shade.”
Today, a little girl cowered behind her desk in half-real fear after we talked about the reality and seriousness of demons.
Today, she went home comforted by her prayers that God would deliver us from evil and that our Father has promised to hear us; that none can snatch her out of His hand.
Today, it was easy to see what it was all for, to see why we teach.