What Earned The Desks?

I once heard a story of how a teacher got her students’ attention in a very big way. It went something like this:

The high school students filed into the school and made their way to their respective classrooms. One group walked into a completely empty room- devoid of the desks they all called home for the duration of their class. For most, the desks were seen as little prisons, each representing the “drudgery” of the school day. Regardless of each personal sentiment towards the particular piece of furniture, the students (many of whom were still suffering the effects of a procrastination-induced cram session the night before) still wanted a place to sit down. Intrigued by the lack of seating, the talk began to fly back and forth. Finally their teacher entered the room and posed a question.

“What earned the desks that are now missing?”

The kids looked around at each other and began to utter a few things amongst themselves, unsure as to exactly what all this meant.

“Answer the question correctly,” she stated, “and your seats will be returned. Until then, we will remain standing.”

Throughout the hour the students threw out answers in a quest to regain their seats. “Good grades?” answered one; “Good behavior?” asked another; still another guessed, “Hard work?”

The class period was nearing its close, and still no one had correctly answered the question.

The teacher walked to the door, stepped outside for a moment, and returned. The door opened again, and one by one, the desks were carried back into the room. Carrying the desks were soldiers in full uniform. Silently they set each desk in its place, and left just as they had come in. By the time the last soldier had made his way out, a hush had fallen over the entire room.

The teacher spoke once more.

They,” she said, “are what earned those desks. Don’t ever forget it.”


On this Memorial Day, we honor the memory of each precious life lost in the defense of our wonderful freedom. May we never, ever forget its price.







(Photo courtesy of http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/mapursel.htm)

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