I have so many experiences traveling that there are weeks I think I should write a travel blog. While these stories might leave you laughing hysterically one minute and crying with sorrow the next, I do not think they would add much to our society other than humoring you with the perils of my life. My life is simply complicated. However, I had an experience this past week that is worth writing about.
I was waiting to board a flight. In the distance, I heard one person begin to clap slowly but very deliberately. I ignored the clapping—you hear so much in a busy airport. Then the single clap turned into two, three, and then several. You have probably guessed that I turned to see some of the best looking young men I’ve ever seen (if there were women, I did not see them) in a single file to board at a gate adjoining mine. The clapping began to crescendo to an almost deafening sound, and we stood with tear-stained cheeks paying tribute as our brave men in uniform boarded their flight.
As I boarded just a few minutes later, I thought about how young they looked…how each young man was some mother’s baby just a few short years ago. I realized that the children I am investing in today will be the ones boarding a plane tomorrow to protect me, my children, and my grandchildren. I have ONE chance to pour myself into each child. They have ONE childhood for me to get it right. I must love them gently while they are young so that they will value life, stand up for what’s right, and make great decisions when they are on their own. I must develop leaders who will instill in our children universally accepted character traits like responsibility, caring, respect, citizenship, fairness, and trustworthiness because our children will need these values in everything they do in life.
These brave men inspired me to “be all that I can be” for the future young men and women who will protect our country, and I trust that you will renew your commitment to the child/ren in your life. Love them deeply, respect them at all times, and savor every moment that you have with them. The days pass SO quickly. Our babies make a dramatic entrance into this world. Yet in a blink, they are grown men marching with emotion onto a plane and into a world of unknown risks.
Each child has only ONE childhood,
and we must pour our very best into that childhood.
To the men of service who boarded a flight at DFW, gate D15 on Thursday, August 25, 2011: Thank you for bringing incredible inspiration to a weary early childhood professional! And thank you to those who invest in the lives of young children on a daily basis. Every child deserves our very best, and together we are making a difference in our world.
Written by Donna McClintock, Children’s Choice COO