While discussing faith, I am reminded of a lyric from an old religious song: “Let hope rise and darkness tremble.” That is a powerful and optimistic statement for those who share a strong belief in God.
I am also convinced that our purpose in life is directly linked to the clarity of our own vision for the future. Too many people imagine a bleak and hopeless future, and it shows in choices they make in their work, their relations and in their outlook on life. The glass is half empty. Darkness and desolation will always be all they see and find.
I had an opportunity to spend a few hours with a friend of mine, Karolyn Marino, as she taught her Kindergarten class. She was bursting with enthusiasm and energy to match that of her pupils. Karolyn told me that her job was not only to reach every child in her class, no matter their level of knowledge on a subject, but to also make sure that her classroom was one of optimism and hopefulness. Her interaction with children went beyond the walls of the schools. The children knew no matter what awaited them at home, for the hours that they were in Miss Karolyn’s class, they were warmly welcomed and loved. She is also one of the top teachers in her school district. Kids learn when they are loved.
As one of her goals, Tennessee Commissioner of Education Penny Schwinn stated she wants to make sure that our schools are equipped to serve the academic and non-academic needs of all kids. That means that schools and districts will have better access to online tools, statewide partnerships and more resources for schools. That is a good and positive direction for our educators and our students. We look forward to working with her on this agenda in Tennessee.
Schwinn also has brought up a subject she wants to champion: character education. This too, should help our students make more meaningful contributions to our society. In a world where it is getting more difficult to determine right from wrong, maybe we do need to step back and look at some of those basic attributes we call character development and reinforce them at school. Loving our neighbors should be innate, but if it is not, we can show the way by practicing what we preach.
Martin Luther King said, “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education. We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.” King’s words still ring true.
I am a believer in public education. But I also understand that what that we have gone down a few rabbit holes and lost focus at times. Change will continue and, in education at least, more change is on the way. We should welcome the debate over change in public education and continue the discussion, knowing that a one size fits all strategy does not work in any school, district or community.
Public education is at a crossroads in Tennessee. People say it is broken and beyond repair. I tell those critics that they are wrong. We succeed every single day in small victories across our classrooms and schools. Our success far outweighs our failures and we can acknowledge those failures and take on those challenges head-on.
Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t. When the light of hope comes, darkness has no place. Darkness is driven away by light. Let hope rise and darkness tremble. Public education has a bright future.
JC Bowman is the Executive Director of Professional Educators of Tennessee, a non-partisan teacher association headquartered in Nashville.
As the largest combat veterans organization around, membership in Veterans of Foreign Wars spans the globe. We are an elite group of combat warriors who have each other’s back.
We bravely volunteered to serve our country and courageously fought the battle to protect our great nation and it’s citizens.
As commander of the VFW Post 9543 in Rogersville, I ask you to join with your fellow veterans. You will be a great asset to our club and we welcome you! Please call us or stop by for a membership application.
VFW Post 9543
“Donald Trump is making Christmas great again” — said Sam Sorbo, talk radio host.
I could not agree more.
My wife, Mary, is a great caretaker of our elderly greyhound, whom she gets up early to let him outside to relieve himself. She also takes care of six cockatiels, three parakeets, two cats, and me. Whenever I want to express my appreciation, I take her shopping.
It is amazing to watch Mary’s transformation upon entering a store. Invisible antennas rise out of her head and she becomes laser-focused, in shopping mode. I can see she is happy and will have a good time. Anyone who says women and men are the same is nuts.
Allowing her to enjoy herself, I tell her to call me when she is ready. Off I go wandering into various stores in the mall. It was Saturday and checkout lines in every store were long. Trump’s booming economy was easy to see: 566,000 new jobs, 54,000 manufacturing jobs, 3.5% unemployment rate and 3.1% wage growth.
In 2016, Trump promised that if elected, Americans would say, “Merry Christmas” again. Wandering around the mall, I repeatedly heard shoppers and sales clerks say, “Merry Christmas!” I overheard a father instructing his three sons, “Remember boys, you’re supposed to be shopping for others, not for yourselves.” An adult woman said, “Mom, you’re not listening to me! Okay, we have to part ways,” as she headed to another section of the store. Ah, the sounds of the season. Clearly, the vibe in the air was upbeat and busy.
Thank you, President Trump.
Our tiny town of 500 residents in West Virginia had its annual Christmas Parade. The float carrying Santa and Mrs. Claus was beautiful; pretty impressive for such a small town. However, the message that Jesus is the reason for the season was strong, bolstered by three floats featuring live Nativity scenes.
I smiled when I recognized a guy costumed to portray Joseph in one of the Nativity scenes. I met him at a church flea market this summer where he wore a Trump 2020 cap. Wearing my Trump 2020 cap, I approached him and said, “Are you a racist white supremacist?” He laughed as we embraced in a bear hug.
Something else I have noticed is an abundance of new faith-based Christmas songs on the radio. Things have truly changed for the better in America. God has given us the gift of President Trump. I do not mean that in a weird idolatrous way. It is unarguable that the dramatic swift U-turn away from the evil direction our country was going is the result of Donald Trump in the White House.
After the Christmas parade, folks met for hot chocolate, cookies, and homemade donuts gifted by the town bakery. As we chatted with neighbors, it felt warm, friendly, and very Christmas; kind of like Bedford Falls in It’s a Wonderful Life.
Despite the three Grinches (Schiff, Pelosi, and Nadler) hate-filled attempts to remove him from office and their party’s war on Christmas, Trump has made Christmas about Jesus again.
Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus (Donald J. Trump) who gives good and honorable gifts. He does not take hard-earned funds from achievers to redistribute to illegals, the lazy and entitled.
May you and your family have a Merry Christmas and a happy and blessed New Year!
(PUB. NOTE: Lloyd Marcus, The Unhyphenated American, is an internationally known conservative commentator, writer, speaker, composer and musician. Readers may contact Lloyd, or follow his blogs, at www.lloydmarcus.com.)