The Seasoning of Passion

“If you don’t love what you do, you won’t do it with much conviction or passion.” -Mia Hamm

Back in September when I tested positive for COVID-19, I lost much of my sense of smell. The fact that I could not smell the bacon that was being fried was a sign that not all things were as they should be. In the six months sense then some of my senses of taste and smell have come back, but don’t ask me to sniff the wine or smell two week old milk.

And then there’s the spice rack in our house!

I can smell the garlic and the cinnamon, faint hints of a few others, and not a hint of purpose in most of them. Spices and seasonings that don’t offer flavor are anomalies. It’s like tofu that just lays there and stares at you, or pasta without the sauce.

Passion is the seasoning of a purpose-filled life. This past week in the silence of a post-track practice school hallway I talked to one of our runners about the importance of passion. Passion is the flavor-filled spice that keeps us coming back for more. It’s that ingredient that is hard to define. When its there it’s obvious and when its not there it’s even more obvious.

As my friend, Ron McKinney, one who knows about the passion of guiding and equipping young learners and athletes, stood there with me, we talked to the young athlete about the things in life that energize us, keep us coming back for more.

In the educational arena, rising costs creating financial pinches are causing an alarming number of educators to consider leaving their profession. Last year’s educational schizophrenia overwhelmed many teachers. This year’s classrooms are often daily examples of a missing year of maturing for their students. Sixth-graders are more like fifth-graders and seventh-graders are more like sixth-graders.

Worries about students, concerns about making ends meet, increasing demands and responsibilities set upon them, all of those things in life that seek to zap the flavor and make teaching like a trip down the generic lane are tasteless clumps in the stew.

The passion for guiding young learners has been grieved by the circumstances of the times. Just as I wish my sense of smell would come back, many teachers are hoping the predicaments of the times will soon be drained through a colander and the adventure of equipping young minds with the tools of life will be what is left.

In the mean time, just as I tell the cook, “That sure was a great dinner!”, maybe we can find ways to say to our educators, “That was a great lesson today! Thanks for teaching us!” And maybe, just maybe, the nutmeg and paprika can be smelled again!

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