Don Shomette

People are the Prize


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Are These Just Words or Do We Really Believe It?

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Children are our greatest gift, asset, treasure, and blessing.

Children are the hope for the future.

They are the most important ‘thing’ to us.

If we really believe this, it surely doesn’t sound like it. The vast majority of comments that I hear about children are complaints and it’s everywhere. In schools, families, churches, TV, radio, movies, books, playgrounds, and blog posts.

You can’t escape it.

Children are not objects to be ridiculed but people to be loved. They are not a what but a who. I’ve never met an adult who feels good about constantly being the butt of a bad joke or to blame for the world’s unhappiness.

But we do it to kids all the time—all the time.

Children are not a detriment to our (adults’) happiness or problems to be solved. They don’t weigh down, hold back, or diminish who we adults are or what we can become. It is just the opposite. Throughout history children have affectionately been called the ‘true and only Fountain of Youth’ and not because they are young and bubbling with life, but because they are the only thing in this world that makes adults feel young at heart and bubble with life.

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They’re the best thing for us—not the worst thing!

Stop complaining about kids.

The greatest threat to education is not low test scores, low pay, or a lack of funding. These things, while they are critically important, can be worked around. What cannot be worked around is a lack of gratitude for children.

Why is that?

To truly love someone means to put the other person first and to be concerned only about their good and their needs without any regard to what it means to you or what you get out of it.

Who thinks we should love our children (students) this way?

Who themselves would like to be loved this way?

No one can ever love this deeply without first having gratitude. Gratitude is being truly thankful for the other person and is the required stepping stone to real and meaningful love.

It hurts to have low test scores, pay, and funding but when adults are not thankful for students they become bitter and cynical. They see their job as only a job. Worse, they’ve shut themselves off from ever loving the student. If they can’t love the student then they no longer care about the student’s good and instead become more concerned about what’s in it for them (sound like anyone you know?).

If we ever get to this day collectively as a group, we lose it all and we’ll be able to look back and say that it all started when we stopped being thankful for children.

If you feel yourself or experience someone else being unappreciative of their children (students) then do or recommend these two simple things.

1. Stop complaining about them.
It’s impossible to feel good or think well about someone while you’re complaining about them.  Don’t do it and don’t allow others to do it. And I’m talking about all complaining whether it’s done with a frown or a smile on your face. Just stop it.

2. Do something for them.
Yes, that’s right. You do something for them. Do something—anything—for only their good without any regard for what you get out it. And it doesn’t have to be something big. Just let it be for their good. If you do this, then you are practicing true gratitude and true gratitude is the only way to open or reopen the door to real love.

We are living a great and noble adventure of helping children to become who they were created to be, but you’d never believe it if you listened to all the complaining. In our better moments we remember and acknowledge the importance of what we’re called to accomplish, but we cannot and never will accomplish this task unless we see children for what they really are…our greatest asset, treasure, blessing, hope for the future, true eternal fountain of youth…our most precious gift.

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Shouldn’t we be grateful? I’m certainly grateful for mine…


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8 Years Later…

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As a society we’ve slid into a terrible habit of labeling all deaths as a killing, regardless of whether it was an accident or not. Out of the necessity to protect themselves, I believe that the media reports any event where a person has died as a ‘killing’ because then they are less liable than if they proclaim it a murder.

I get it.

We just have to remember that being killed is not the same thing as being murdered, especially on today, the anniversary of the school attack on Virginia Tech.

Why is this important?

A person who has been killed, was killed by accident. A person who was murdered, was killed on purpose. Both are victims because they have been permanently deprived of their most precious thing in this world—their life. However, the person who was murdered has suffered a severe injustice at the hands of someone who had no right to do what they did. The injustice of murder is so great that it is the only crime that has the ability to make you a co-victim—even though it’s 8 years later and on the day of the attack you were thousands of miles away and didn’t know any of the victims personally.

Today in 2007, 32 people were murdered in the school attack on Virginia Tech. Those innocent people were not killed, but murdered and in eleven minutes all of their families, friends, and thousands of others became co-victims.

Today take extra care to reach out to those who may be suffering—even if they were not there and let them know that you care and remind them that what they are feeling are normal feelings about a terribly abnormal and unjust event.