By: Jessica Chamberlain, Del Norte HS
As I write this we just found out at my school that our plans for bringing students back on January 25, for the second semester, will not come to fruition. The Governor has created more rules for us to follow all in the name of our “safety.” Now don’t get me wrong, COVID-19 is very real and very dangerous for a lot of folks, including myself. We do need to have a vaccine and we do need to have safety procedures, I am not ignorant to these facts. But the way our world, state and country are working, I am beginning to believe that we are mere pawns in a game I had no idea we were playing.
I am a very optimistic person, I try to always believe the best in people. I strive to treat others with kindness and respect, even when our opinions are different. I am 31 years old and even though my parents raised me with a healthy dose of reality, I have an inherent belief that people are good and I should trust most of them. Call me naive, but I want to believe that people, especially our elected leaders, are good. I never thought that my faith in humanity and in the “good guys” being our leaders would be as damaged as it is right now.
Touring Washington, D.C. and seeing the monuments and history of our country and walking the halls of the nation’s capital is an experience I feel is like no other. It is like falling in love with America, the good, the bad and the ugly. The pride an American can feel when taking part in our democracy by voting or viewing a session of the house or senate in person, is a treasured thing. Valuing the difference in humans, in their backgrounds and opinions, working together for the common good, those are the stories that are told about our leaders. These leaders that were born to serve, know the ins and outs of the people and communities they represent and understand right from wrong. The last few years have called into question all those thoughts and ideals that we have as a country; no matter what political beliefs you may have. We are being tested, as a nation and humanity.
There is no way around it, life is hard especially right now, and believing that things will be okay is a tough ask. Despite this, let’s look around at the opportunities we as agricultural educators have. We know what it is to be a servant leader. We know what it means to stand for something we believe in and not back down. We know the value of family, love and that every kid matters, no matter what their background is or the choices they make. This school year we have adapted, overcome and developed resilience and brilliance, ensuring our students are not only educated but also know they are valued. We are teaching the young people that will one day be voting, raising families and serving their country in different ways. We are the keepers of the flame and can pass down the knowledge of what it means to serve. FFA members get to have the experience that no other organization can give, they work with others that are not always like themselves and shed their selfishness and work for the greater good. They learn what they believe and what their passions are. And we get to help them get there and that is the best gift and one of the greatest reasons to wake up and do this job.
So while it feels like the world is burning down around us, let’s place our hope and confidence in the kids we are helping to raise. You have a God-given purpose and talents that have been making a positive impact, even when you cannot see it. Keep the faith and know you are helping young adults make their way to their greatest potential. The world needs ag teachers now more than ever.
For more information about the California Agricultural Teachers’ Association, visit http://calagteachers.org/