How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” Isaiah 62:7 (NIV)
For me, it doesn’t get much better than this: a roomful of History geeks and a fascinating lecturer discoursing on the past and making it relevant to today. Well, there might be one thing that is better, but this is a PG blog. Really, I am quite serious; I just came from a fascinating evening with a historian from Virginia who talked about the authors of the Declaration of Independence and the political and philosophical thought that influenced it. I am more pumped up than my dad after the Gators cream the Seminoles in a football game. Call me a nerd, if you will, but I just love hearing stories and learning historical facts. I was blessed to be asked to serve on the steering committee for a Teaching American History grant that our local school district received this year. The Department of Education pays for scholars from all over the country to come to our community and teach a group of twenty four fifth, eighth and eleventh grade American history teachers. During the three year program, each speaker not only talks about their area of expertise, but brings primary sources and shows how the teachers can use them in their classrooms. Nothing makes me salivate more (well, nothing but cookies) than seeing the actual documents or copies of them that helped to shape our past. I am so happy that these teachers are going to have this experience and even more thrilled that I get to be a part of it. Interestingly, we had trouble getting teachers to apply for the program. Even though they are being compensated for their participation including a trip to a nationally recognized historic site each summer, many felt that they did not have the time. They were so focused on the immediate needs of their classroom, that they did not see how they could manage one more thing. Members of the steering committee went from school to school shaking hands and twisting arms until we had enough applicants to meet the standards of the grant. I can’t condemn them though. I almost didn’t make it to tonight’s lecture. Tomorrow, I have a report due for a committee I am serving on. I also have to cook breakfast for the volunteers at one of our museums and serve lunch to another group of volunteers. But, I am so glad that I went. Sometimes, I let my day to day responsibilities get in the way of something else I am passionate about, glorifying God and teaching people about Him. It is so easy to let committee meetings, volunteer work and life in general get in the way of that. Instead, I need to maintain my focus and remember what is most important. In my career, it is making sure that students and their teachers become energized about the past, but in my life, it is the good news that God loves us and cares about us. And nothing, even history, is more exciting than that!