If you ask Peyton Manning, he’ll tell you outright, there’s no joy in coming in second place. Fortunately, education involves a different kind of contest – one against the self. My parents raised me to compete against myself – to compare today’s performance against yesterday’s and in anticipation of tomorrow’s, and that’s the message I continue to convey to my students in loco parentis. I know there are colleagues who will disagree with the notion that teachers bear a certain moral responsibility toward students. Still, I will argue, prayer being withdrawn from schools notwithstanding, that classrooms are sacred spaces and should be treated as such.
The first month in the new year behind us, we anticipate great things from the months to come. Reflecting on the past as prologue, I am grateful to have served as thesis adviser for a friend because I learned to work only within my calling and not according to the impulses of the heart. I am grateful for the miraculous restoration of my puppy after a two-year separation because it taught me about self-forgiveness and the eternal springs of hopefulness. I am grateful for the ongoing opportunities for growth presented in marriage because I continue to learn by heart that great challenges bring greater blessings.
In contests against the self the choice to win is ever ours. In this regard, Peyton Manning remains an undefeated emblem of success.