Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Hireling

From the Holy Bible:  
John 10: 11-14
11 I am the good ashepherd: the good bshepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
 12 But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and aleaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.
 13 The ahireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.
 14 I am the good ashepherd, and bknow my csheep, and am known of mine.
I heard someone (not the Bible) once say that hirelings don't get it done.  A hireling is someone who anciently was "hired" by the owner of the sheep.  They lived with the sheep, fed the sheep, and stayed with the sheep.  Even though the sheep were not theirs.
With them not being the true shepherd, the scriptures say that when danger comes upon the sheep, a hireling that is not invested would run away.  I can believe it.
I guess I have always thought of as a lack of commitment or dedication.
There are some jobs that we even now as "hirelings" would run away from.  I don't want to list what I think those might be, because everyone feels differently about their jobs.  I have always applied it to myself, as a mother.  I have stayed home, 20 years now, by choice because I think that in regards to my baby goats, I can do a better job than a hireling.
I don't expect everyone to feel this way, or think that I am judging those mothers who do not stay home.  I have no opinion in regards to your decisions as a mother or father.  This is just the judgement that Mr. Fun and I have made for ourselves regarding our family.
I think I have applied this thought to more situations than I should have. My dad owned a business for a couple decades and I NEVER thought that his employees had as much emotionally invested as he and my mom did.  They showed up late.  They showed up hung over.  That is if they showed up at all.  They were "hirelings."
To my credit, there is one area that I have never thought folks were just "hirelings."

School teachers.
If I have said it once, I have said it a million times....I love teachers.  Especially public school teachers and administrators.
Always have.
I served about a decade in PTA.  Including as a president, a million committees and boards.  I read and believed the studies that parents who are involved " on the ground" in the classroom or have a presence somewhere in the school, their children do better in school. 
I have been blessed with great kiddos.  I think they accomplish actually despite my parenting sometimes.  
But because I believed what I had read, I started working in my local elementary school before The Girl was even in kindergarten.  My bestie Lori watched her when I went to do my small part with the kids.
Nothing changed when she started school.  And as The Boy got older, I dragged him with me, too.
He used to hang out with the custodian, Jay, who was his favorite fella ever.  They worked in the gym together, changed sprinkler heads together, and when I would wander where Boy was, I always knew he was in the loving care of Jay.  Jay was delightful with my little four year old son, and we even to this day still get a Christmas card from Jay and his family each year.  
There are some teachers in our lives that have gone beyond what they were paid for.  There is Kelly Kline who loved Girl into talking.  There was Mrs. Barnes who was the first to tell me the Girl was right-brained and I should read a book about unicorns.  She was also the teacher who also used her own money to install air conditioning in her own room in a building in hot Utah falls that has none so the kiddos were more comfy.  There was Mrs. Van Ballas who spent two years tutoring Boy at the kitchen table and will be sitting next to us at his high school graduation.  There is Mrs. Armstong who made the Boy's transition to Missouri easier.  There is Mr. Mayabb who told me that Girl was "brilliant" at military history, the same Girl who is now a collegiate History major.  There is Mrs. Burgess who has finagled a way for Boy to stay home for on-school, while still registered as a student in the district in a state that has no on-line public program.  There is even Ms. Nixon who taught a unit about brushing their teeth, using a tube of Crest as her example of toothpaste.  To this very single day, the Girl will not use anything else but Crest.  And there is Principal Newell and her funny husband "Dr. Noodleman" (as the Boy called him) who had my back when I got some ridiculous emails from some crazy while I was serving as PTA president.
These are folks who certainly did not act as "hirelings." 
They acted as co-parents to my children.  And a friend to me.
And I give them the respect they deserve as such.
Some of my best friends are educators.  Sheri, one of my besties I met in 7th grade, who, just this week as a good Mormon girl, could have used a drink.  Tiel, who has a gift that he could no longer use to support his growing family with.  Dave V, who I may not speak with for years, but we could pick up right now like it has only been days.  There is Laura L, my buddy here in KC whose 4th grade class helped raise over $10,000.00 for the Ronald McDonald House.  I spend months every year planning RYLA with the most amazing educators who actually lose money in the work like Marilyn and Rachel.  Even The Girl's boyfriend's mother and sister are educators.
Which brings me to my point.
Last night, I was feeling like everyone else.  Shocked.  Amazed.  Vomiting a little in my mouth when I heard that the parents of all the dead were in the same room when they heard "there will be no more reunions today."  I cannot, even in the greater dark depths of my mind--which admittedly are not that dark or deep--imagine what those sounds sounded like.
I cried.  Just like many of you.
And then I thought of the hirelings.
I very well could have been in that meeting with the principal and school psychologist who could have been discussing my son.   I have had many, many of those meetings, which can be hard on a good day.
I could have been in those classrooms, decorating with National Geographic pictures or counting box tops with the kids.  
But I wasn't.  It was, technically, the "hirelings."
Last night, in an interview, one of those hirelings said when she heard the shooting start, she said she did not have the luxury of losing control.  She had 19 five-year-olds to keep in control as well.  So what does the "hireling" do when someone is just down the hall killing their peers and her boss? Her friends?

She locked the door.  With herself inside.

She gathered them around in the corner of the room.

And she read them a story.
I am not a shepherd of many. I do not know what great responsibility lays on the hireling.

There is a teacher from my hometown, Mrs. F, that half the town must have had.  This is what she said on the Facebook today:

Having been in lockdown with students, you never forget the feeling and responsibility. Tragedies like this bring back all those feelings. Many people out there are quick to put teachers down, but those teachers are ready and willing to lay their lives on the line for their students when the need arises.

And I know the "hirelings" who have educated me and my children would have done the same thing for their "sheep."  I know they really are "shepherds" and would lay down their life.  For the sheep they did not bear themselves.

These Connecticut hirelings heard the wolf coming.  And they did not "fleeth."

God bless the educator.

Ironically, when I was double-checking my spelling for this blog, I stumbled across this dictionary defination


   BUH-tris  , verb;

To give encouragement or support to (a person, plan, etc.).  Sounds like a teacher to me!