All of us can see things we would like to be different in Moses Lake – reduced violence and drugs, better jobs and pay, more restaurants and shopping (Olive Garden and Winco anyone?). As a society, we have become so dependent on government to initiate and determine change that we have forgotten that we live in a country that (for now) recognizes our inalienable rights to be free. However, if we fail to avail ourselves of this freedom – if we fail to invest ourselves with our time and finances to create the community we would like to have, we will not only not have the community we want, but we will also lose the freedom that has long been cherished in this country. I’ll be the first to admit that I have felt powerless to change anything. I’ve had the attitude of “well – I guess that’s how it is.” I care – things seem off – but I don’t know what to do. Maybe you are in the same spot.

I’ve spent a lot of the last few days thinking about our teachers and schools. We all recognize the essential role teachers play in our society and community. They have incredible potential to influence and shape our future. Talk to any teacher and they will share with you their burden for kids. Too often they bear this burden without the support they rightly deserve from families, churches, and other community organizations. When we say “the government pays for that” and “why should I have to help that’s why I pay taxes” we turn over control of Moses Lake’s future to people outside of our community. America was founded as a nation of people who took ownership and created the future they envisioned. To some extent, we have lost that in this country, but the potential to participate in creating something amazing in Moses Lake is our right… No, it is our duty.

So here are five ideas I have to encourage our teachers and make a difference in the lives our children. I welcome your thoughts and ideas. If a few would decide this matters and is worth a measure of sacrifice others would follow and I have no doubt Moses Lake would be the better for it.

1. Give toward teachers’ classroom expenses. I know many if not all teachers pay for things needed in their classrooms out of their own pockets. What if we as a community chipped in to help them make things better for the kids of our community? Let’s not get in a huff about “that’s what my taxes are for.” The reality is that despite our taxes teachers are paying for things in their classrooms to help our kids. Let’s ask our teachers what they are buying and how we can help. Why not make it easier for them to make it better for our children? It would not take much to cover this if even 10% of us chipped in and what a difference it could make in the morale of our teachers.

2. Recognize teachers for what they do. What if we all took the time to notice a great teacher’s efforts and say thank you? Maybe give them a note and a gift card for some coffee. What if churches or other groups of people adopted schools and made an effort to publically recognize and thank our teachers for specific acts of dedication and excellence? Surely it would be meaningful to have the community stand up and say “Great Job – Thank you for what you are doing.” It starts with you and me. Make it happen.

3. Assist in the classrooms. If we want to better engage our kids and understand the challenges of our teachers I can’t think of a better way than by spending a day in a classroom helping. If only 10% of the City of Moses Lake volunteered to help in a classroom once a semester – EVERY teacher in Moses Lake could have a community volunteer in their classroom 10 times a year. I’m sure the teachers would appreciate the help, but more than that we as community members would significantly improve our understanding of the challenges we are facing, develop a passion for our kids, and better equip ourselves to come alongside our teachers.

4. Commit long term. Rome wasn’t built in a day. If we are truly to change the tide in our community it will take long-term sustained effort. We can’t just say thank you one time or volunteer one time or give one time. True change will happen when we as a community say this matters enough for me to dedicate a portion of my time, talent, and money on a regular basis to make our community what we want it to be.

5. Engage our kids for our Community and Culture. All of us know kids in our community. We may be their parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, godmother, godfather or neighbor – but we know them. We cannot turn a blind eye to their needs anymore. Every teacher can speak to the great need families have in raising kids. Can you mentor a child? Can you find a child to whom you can routinely speak an encouraging word? Can you tutor a child in a subject they are struggling with? If we all were to “adopt” a child outside of our family to be a help and encouragement to, how much would we change our future and give hope to our kids? I’m sure the reward would be immeasurable to both the recipient and the giver.
So these are a few ideas of how we can really make a difference in our communities. If this has made you think I encourage you to share this article with your own thoughts. Talk about and dream about how we could make a difference and let’s see what happens. #moseslakeisworthit#makeadifference #payitforward