With recent natural disasters, there seems to be a movement in Texas, in the U.S. and even around the world to give and to serve those who have been impacted by these catastrophic events that make the daily headlines. Although it is inspiring to see, I want to talk about giving in general terms today. Giving is something that all cultures know and understand, but define differently. Literally, there are over 40 definitions of the word (giving) used as nouns, as verbs, and even as adjectives. With over 40 possible meanings, it is easy to see how “giving” is a large part of our culture, a basic human behavior, and yet something that we take for granted at times.
In my line of work, “giving” takes on multiple forms in a multitude of contexts almost every minute. Of course, educators give like the rest of society. For example, during the recent United Way Campaign, the PISD gave over $13,500 with over 275 members of our staff participating. We give freely to this organization because we see every day the positive impact these services and programs have on our students and their families. Giving is something that educators know almost inherently and something they do almost instinctively. Let me explain.
Our staff give of themselves daily in the countless conversations they have about academic success, but also about social-emotional wellness, health, and overall happiness of students and their families. They give knowledge and skills to their students through sharing, experimenting, and designing learning experiences for hundreds of hours in a single semester. They give their time—yes, personal time- to plan, prepare, assess, research, and collaborate so that their students can be successful. Our teachers and staff give students, parents, and even each other hope, inspiration, and motivation to persevere, to cross the line and go the extra mile every day. The list of how they give could go on and on. But I want to focus on what they receive when they give.
Giving is one of the most fulfilling actions in which a person can engage. What is awesome about giving is that which is given in return. With every gift of knowledge, time, and support our teachers give to their students and families, they are rewarded ten-fold with the overwhelming sense of purpose, passion, and pride that comes with being an educator. Their buckets are filled and their hearts are overjoyed with each conversation and when the light-bulb comes on for a child.
The infectious act of giving is not unique to our schools and staff. The businesses, civic groups, and individuals in the Pampa community give so much to our students and staff through donations and supporting our booster clubs. Our School Board gives many hours each month to ensure that our district is governed properly and our staff and students are supported in their work. Our churches and partnerships through VIP’s work with our students, staff, and administration in giving supplies, support, and even in some cases, a delicious meal.
Giving is a gift and one that is given freely in Pampa, Texas. This is a wonderful thing to see and an amazing thing to experience. The Harvester Spirit coupled with our Pampa Pride makes giving-- the gift that keeps on giving! Thank you Pampa for being WHO you are and HOW you are!