We live in a fear culture, and as a result of that fear culture, we’ve become mistrustful.  We want to think that no one acts in our interest but ourselves or worse, that they are doing things to intentionally harm us.  Not only is this mentality narrow-minded, it’s sad because we belittle the very people who make our lives better each and every day.

So to the following under appreciated folk out there, I offer my thanks:

Thanks to doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals.

You deal with people every day who think they know more than you because they read something on the Internet.  You treat people who on one hand, believe you are a mindless arm of big pharmaceutical companies, but on the other, never listen to you when you give practical advice like “eat healthy” or “exercise more.”  You are rarely thanked when you do a good job, but you constantly worry that someone will sue you if you don’t tell them exactly what they want to hear.

Thank you for dealing with all this and still trying to keep us healthy.  Because of you and your profession, we enjoy the longest lifespan the human race has ever known with only a fraction of the illness that used to plague us.  You can only do so much: it is our choice what we do with our good health.

Thanks to teachers, coaches, and other educators.

Given the impact that you have on our future, you are one of the least paid professions that require a degree.  Some parents blame you for every bad behavior their children ever exhibit.  Society often blames you for a variety of its ills.  You are often tasked to teach numerous subjects in overcrowded classrooms full of kids who don’t care or even want to hurt you and other children.

Thank you for continuing to believe in future generations of people.  Despite lack of funds and community support, you inspire young minds to do great things.  Our children continue to achieve phenomenal greatness under your hands.  You can only do so much: it is our choice what to do with our education.

Thanks to our police officers, fire fighters and military.

Many view you as the enemy, forcing a rule or law on us that somehow stifles society.  At best, people make jokes about your eating habits or how you are a waste of taxpayer money.  At worst, people spit in your face, threaten your families, and yell obscenities at you.  No one likes to admit that they need you until something terrible happens, and even then they often accuse you of doing a bad job, even if you are the only one who will show up to try to right a wrong.

Thank you for administering peace and justice in our society.  You see humanity at its worst, but you continue to defend it anyway.  You rarely ask for recognition, even though you keep us safe.  You can only do so much: it is our choice how to grow our communities.

–Deborah Fike

P.S. I am very much aware that there is such a thing as a bad doctor, bad teacher, or bad police officer.  Bad people exist in all professions and in all walks of life.  However, I choose to believe that most people are inherently good, just as I believe that I myself am inherently good.  Believing anything else would be hypocritical of me.

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