In honor of Memorial Day, I wanted to share this story that I received from my friend. Her sister is a Lt. Colnel in the Air Force.
When teaching leadership lessons, a story is often the best illustration. Consider the following story told at a recent Airmen Leadership School graduation at Maxwell AFB:
On the first day of school in 2005, Martha Cothren, a social studies teacher in Arkansas, welcomed her students to her empty classroom. The confused students asked her where the desks had gone. She replied, “You can't have a desk until you tell me what you have done to earn the right to sit at a desk.” The students guessed that perhaps it was their grades or even their behavior. She assured them that neither guess was correct. She asked the same question of each class that arrived that day. Finally, during the last period, she stated, “No one has been able to tell me just what he/she has done to earn the right to sit at the desks that are ordinarily found in this classroom. Now I am going to tell you.” She went to the door and in walked 27 U.S. Veterans, all in uniform, each one carrying a school desk. The Vets placed the desks in rows and then stood along the wall. As the desks were set, the kids started to understand, perhaps for the first time in their lives, just how the right to sit at those desks had been earned. Martha said, “You didn't earn the right to sit at these desks. These heroes did it for you. They placed the desks here for you. Now, it's up to you to sit in them. It is your responsibility to learn, to be good students, to be good citizens. They paid the price so that you could have the freedom to get an education. Don't ever forget it.”