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Not all heroes get noticed by the media

POSTED: July 10, 2011 1:30 a.m.

There are folks out there who never read a newspaper, watch the evening news or make any effort to keep up with current events.

This week, I would have preferred to join them.

The world seems to be obsessed with Casey Anthony’s verdict and the cheating scandal in the Atlanta Public Schools.

I’m not.

I’d rather think about the single mothers who work an extra job to make sure their children can go to camp, play ball or be a cheerleader. There are single mothers who make sure that their children get the best education they can and attend church on a weekly basis.

An equal amount of praise is due to grandparents who are raising their grandchildren because the parent either disappeared or worse, is in jail.

There are couples that work hard to make life better for their children. A friend of mine is saving money like crazy because he wants to send his daughter to private school in a couple of years.

Where are those stories?

They happen everyday and in the eyes of the world’s media are just ho-hum, run-of-the mill events.

But the good thing is that somebody does care and is willing to make the sacrifices for the benefit of their children, who won’t just compete with kids from other counties, but other countries.

And speaking of competing on a big stage, how about the hard working teachers who dedicate themselves to helping young people open their minds to new concepts and ideas.

It seems that the only time that teachers make major headlines is when someone is engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a student or has erased the wrong answers from a standardized test.

We decided somehow that a multiple-choice test would become the yardstick by which all students are measured.

But there are teachers who use their own money and resources to make sure that some kids have a pencil or something to write on.

They notice on cold days when a student shows up without a decent coat and work to do something about it. They realize that some children’s only good meal of the day is the one they have at school.

For disclosure sake, let me say that I am married to a school teacher who is dedicated to her students. She teaches both math and science, the two subjects that seem to need the most work.

It makes me feel good when former students and their parents call her the best math teacher ever.

She’s not alone.

There are teachers who are passionate about language, history and many other subjects. They come to work early and stay late. They see their work as more of a calling than merely a job.

So today, I ask you to not let the dismal news of this past week make you think that all single parents or all teachers are somehow a failure.

While their work is different, it has a kinship because it involves the lives of children. The extra job of a working parent may mean their child one day gets into a major college. The same is true for the good work of a teacher.

The bad apples may get the headlines, but there is some prize fruit being harvested from the work of many unsung heroes.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on gainesvilletimes.com/harris.



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