Summer of Swim, day 12

So. We got back from Vernon last night, and we brought my little neice, Mahala, with us. She is four. She loves Merlin. She wants to do everything that Merlin does. It is quite comical. Today we went to San Antonio to see William’s father, who is back in the hospital, but we got such a late start that we ended up not going to the hospital. We got to Sea World at about 6:45, went to Lost Lagoon to swim and then caught the “Summer Nights” Shamu show – which was marginally better than the “Believe” show if you completely disregard the sappy, overdone salute to “our heroes” in Iraq (which is in both shows, but seemed somehow stronger in the evening show.)

I don’t know.

I have family in the military. They took the job because it was attractive to them. I hope the people who are serving now took the job because it seemed likely to benefit them, and not out of some patriotic notion of defending me. I work in an industry that is prone to characterizing its employees as martyrs (that would be teaching), and I don’t think the image benefits teachers. It encourages people to think that what we do should be provided practically free of charge without complaint or consideration for the cost of living. It encourages new people entering the field that they need to sacrifice their personal time and money to make things work for their constituents – and that tends to burn people out quickly and cause high turnover, which, in the long run, is detrimental to the institution.

So, if you are serving in the military, I hope you are doing it because it will pay for your college, or you wanted to travel, or you wanted to learn to fly a jet, or some reason like that. Because the idealistic reasons that people give for being in the military alarm me – just a bit. I am glad that there are people who are willing to take the risks associated with defending our country (even if I am uncertain that our president has led them to the best course of action), but I hope that they are doing it for their own reasons (just as I am teaching children for my own reasons) and not with some sense that they are owed more than the pay and respect that should be accorded to anyone who does their job gladly, out of a sense that it is the right action to take both for themselves and for society.

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