The following is a guest post from Jason Marshall, Superintendent of Palestine ISD. It was originally sent as a message to the district.
Mrs. Marshall sent me the following video about students the other day. As I watched it, I was so moved by the speaker that I began researching how to get her to come share her stories with us. Unfortunately, she passed away several years ago. Her passing reminds me of the tremendous knowledge and experience that educators who retire take with them. Thankfully, we have her TED talk to refer back to her thoughts:
Many of you are familiar with the poem, Footprints in the Sand. Several authors have received credit for this poem, and I am including the version by Mary Stevenson below. Whether you internalize this poem from a religious perspective or just simply realize that other people help us without us even knowing about it, I think there is a parallel to Footprints and Rita Pierson's speech. As I listened to Rita Pierson's speech, I couldn't help but think back to the Footprints poem. My mother had a framed poster of it in her bathroom, and it served as both a humbling reminder and as an inspiration to my family for many, many years.
Footprints in the Sand
One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there was one only.
This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints, so I said to the Lord,
“You promised me Lord, that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there has only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?”
The Lord replied, “The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when I carried you.”
Mary Stevenson, 1936
The bottom line to me is that we are probably all treated (in some way) better than we should be treated. Someone probably helps us when we don't even realize it - I know people help me all of the time. And, KIDS NEED CHAMPIONS/HEROS around them ALL OF THE TIME. No, they may not deserve it every day, but that doesn't mean that they still don't need it. Thanks to each of you for making a difference. Continue being some kid's CHAMPION!!!