We are now less than one month away from our move to the farm. Things are really starting to get exciting. We’ve reached the part of the school year where everything culminates before the cycle begins again. Students are awarded, praised, applauded, graduated, and the cycle starts over with a whole new group of kids. This year, Geoff and I are excusing ourselves from the cycle. For us, these endings are endings, and the new beginnings are truly new beginnings. I feel a lot like our seniors right now. I wonder who my friends will be. I wonder who I’ll celebrate with and cry with. We’ll of course keep our dearest friends close and connected, but there is something about the day to day interactions that you have with all of the people who compose your life that provides a comfortable predictability.
Speaking of awarding and applauding, our seniors had their award ceremony this afternoon and Geoff was elected by the students to speak about their growth since they were freshman. Geoff gets nervous about public speaking, but this is the fifth year in a row he was asked to speak, so he must be doing something right. I didn’t get to hear him this year because I went to meet with my dear friend Chatty and her daughters Rachel and Elizabeth. Chatty is the pastor who married Geoff and I. She lives about an hour outside of San Antonio, so I jumped at the chance to get to see her when she was already in town for something else. Chatty has friends in KY and says she loves it, so that was very encouraging to me. Her daughters are wonderful and I’ve known them since they were very young. Now they are sophisticated young ladies in the 6th and 2nd grade. We had a little fun playing on my computer as you can see in these pics.
Each day I’ve had more and more moments of realization that we are really leaving. On Friday night I went to hear several of my students in the choir pop show at our school. The kids did great and I welled up with tears during their performance because as I stared at these lovely, precious sophomore students it hit me that they are going to grow so much over the next two years and I won’t get to see that growth. Truly, we teach some amazing students. I know some of them will go out into the world and make permanent positive change. That inspires me, and it makes my heart hurt a little that I won’t be there to applaud the rest of their high school successes in person.
Over the past several days Geoff and I watched two documentaries about corporate corruption and greed. One was about Enron and one was about credit card companies. What struck me about both movies is that the people involved in these elaborate forms of greed and deception are really smart people, and they are very good at what they do. Normally, nothing makes me happier than seeing someone excel at something they are good at and love doing. But both these movies made me sick to my stomach. It seems like what is happening in corporate America today is like a “through the looking glass” version of success. People are doing things they are good at, they are successful as they define success, but countless individuals are suffering at their expense. I know this might sound a little Pollyanaish of me, but I have so much trouble understanding how anyone can be smart and not be good. I feel like the more a person understands about the world the more they should be driven to do and be good. There are so many things that are hard to see and hard to grasp, and there are so many situations where the absolute right thing to do is hard to determine. If a person can see all of the components, all of the push and pull factors, all of the essential elements in a situation, how can they not do what is right, what is good? I realize philosophers and prophets have dealt with this question for millennia and have detailed explanations of why a person blessed with intelligence would not strive to be good. But it still bugs me.
I hope in my teaching career I’ve at least shown kids that goodness is important. I think I have. I’ve taught over one thousand kids in the last seven years. If even one of those little guys goes out into the world, maintains their personal integrity, treats others fairly, and makes decisions ethically, I feel certain the world will be a little better. But what are we going to do about all of the people who have forgotten what good it, or even worse, who know what good is and don’t want anything to do with it.
For now I guess I’ll just have to devote my energy to raising good chickens, good ducks, good sheep, good vegetables, and a good family and hope that the ripple effect of that goodness in some way impacts the world.