Choices are something Americans seem to take for granted.  We grow up believing that by being a citizen of these United States, we have freedom of choice guaranteed by our Constitution.  In some ways, that belief is correct.  However, we do not have freedom of choice when it comes to harming others to satisfy our own desires.  I really had this thought driven home to me this past week as I spent our fall break from school in Branson, Missouri.

            People are still talking about the tragedy that occurred on Tablerock Lake, when a hurricane force wind came up suddenly and caused the sinking of an amphibious vehicle called a duck, thus taking the lives of many of the forty passengers aboard. One family lost eleven members in that accident.  The news coverage notes that the company chose to do the lake tour first in spite of the weather warnings and postpone the land tour until afterwards.  There is a lawsuit now because the tickets were refundable if the water tour wasn’t completed.  So, it seems the change in tours was to protect the profit of the company.  Since the driver of the vehicle also drowned, no one can ask him if he had a choice in the matter.

            I’ve always taken choices as a very serious matter.  Perhaps that is because my father, a long distance truck driver for over seventy years, constantly made me aware of the dangers that lurked in the everyday world of driving: avoiding road hazards; passing trucks quickly to avoid possible rupture of truck tire retreads hitting my vehicle; keeping speed up after passing a truck so the trucker didn’t have to shift down as his truck gained speed going downhill; and avoiding drunk drivers.  With all these things drilled into my mind, I try to stay alert and to make safe choices when I drive.

            Yet, daily choices don’t seem nearly so startling as the two paragraphs above have shown.  Most of our choices seem insignificant in comparison.  I saw a billboard while traveling that said simply one sentence: “Two days absence per month = failure in reading.”  I get the point the sign is trying to make; however, I would have to do a lot of investigation to verify the fact.

            We certainly want to make correct and wise choices.  That is one of the primary lessons I try to teach my students.  Each day begins with us making a choice as to what kind of day we will have: good or bad.  We can’t prevent bad things happening to good people, but we can choose how we handle all things that come our way.  My husband always taught his clients to “reframe” situations in a positive manner.  I have learned to do this…although I am not successful one hundred percent of the time.  But I have improved with age!

            My daughter Michelle has helped me over the years by having extraordinary faith in God to provide in times of need.  She’d always say, “I wonder how God will help me in this matter.”  God has always provided for and rewarded her faith in Him.  I still have a small tendency to try to help God solve the problem…but I’m getting better at waiting upon the Lord.

            The statistics of assaults upon teachers by students in the U.S. is astounding!  Walter Williams has once again provided some of the statistics in his editorial last week.  Many teachers have quit their jobs rather than put up with the abuse.  I wonder what will happen when good teachers are no longer available to teach.  Our own state is suffering from acute teacher shortages.  We see teachers making a choice to leave their chosen profession…will students make a choice to change classroom behaviors?  I fear the crisis will become even greater in the coming years.

            The families in our school have made choices to send their children to our private school.  Many have made great sacrifices.  My staff and I made the choice of working for salaries below the state mandated salaries of public school teachers because we prefer to work in a positive and safe environment.  We do all this so that kids can have more choices in their futures.

-        Kay