Why on a day when the State of Wisconsin is implementing Right to Work legislation just weeks after gutting public education would I have been rummaging through old documents and found the following hand-written notation from my father, a proud card carrying union member of the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association?
My father’s first choice in life was not to teach but after an amazing set of life’s adventures brought him to the profession, he embraced it with gusto. Near his retirement in the 1970s, he must have penned the following:
Lord, sometimes I get to thinking
Am I doing what you want of me?
You called me to be a teacher
For these years you’ve given me.
Why Oh Lord did you entrust me
With the children I have taught?
They are all your own creations.
Help me teach them as I ought.
They’re your saints, now in disguise
In and out of uniform.
What they’ll be depends on You, Lord
Together young minds we must form.
Business persons, parents, lawmakers,
Farmers, Priests, teachers-to-be;
They must all be taught and molded;
An awesome task you’ve given me.
This thought from Your own words Lord
Bring encouragement to me:
“…who instructs others unto justice
Shall shine like stars eternally.”
Scott Walker may have won a short-term victory in Wisconsin, but the light of goodness that workers and teachers bring will triumph again. Henry Boyer’s spirit will rise again; that’s my hope today.