What Is Sacrifice?
When we hear the word sacrifice, we often think of completely selfless acts in which someone does something for another person entirely for the other person’s benefit. The image of a soldier sacrificing his life for his comrades frequently comes to mind. But sacrifice isn’t purely altruistic. The best definition of sacrifice is this: “To forfeit something for something else considered to have a greater value.” (American Heritage Dictionary).
To me sacrifice does not mean giving up something for nothing; it means giving up one thing for something else we believe is worth more.This does not at all take away from the virtue of sacrificial acts. Instead of locating the merit of sacrifice in unselfishness, we can find it in our own chosen value system. I think I have experienced and continue to experience this as a teacher and aspiring leader in education.
So if we have a definition of sacrifice, what is the law or purpose of sacrifice?
The law of sacrifice says ” you cannot get something you want, without giving up something in return.” In order to attain something you believe is of greater value, you must give up something you believe is of lesser value. People in all walks of life practice this everyday so what makes it different for educators ?
Society today tries to deny the law of sacrifice at every turn, promising people that they can fulfill their desires without having to forsake anything at all. The fantasy that you can have whatever you’d like without ever paying for it is an incredibly seductive fantasy. But it is only a fantasy. There is always a price to pay.
If you want to lose weight, you have to give up junk food. If you want to get ripped, you have to work out regularly. If you want the nice things in life, you have to work hard and save your money. for me is being an artist , not just making the art but going the whole nine yards with it . Could I find happiness as a working artist ? Yes I can and I have in the past . I also have found the same fulfillment as a teacher of art . Both Teaching and Creating bring me joy so why would I have to give up one for the other?
This is the beauty of the law of sacrifice. As a teacher you provide so much to other humans no matter how great or small they may be. You give more than just time ,or information ,or instruction a good teacher gives what ever they can to students. At the same time a good teacher has personal goals focused on achieving a higher level of knowledge and experience to provide an even larger student group with the services of education. This path can be rough , and a teacher can get lost or confused along the way. Not only is the path a rough one when a teacher is truly achieving their goals, but the path itself prepares you to handle life at the top. True sacrifice for a teacher is a real education in becoming a leader of others .
Sacrificing not only gets you to your goals, but hones and shapes you as a leader along the way.
Frederick Douglass said: “A man, at times, gets something for nothing, but it will, in his hands, amount to nothing.”
To reach your goals, you must move forward, which necessitates leaving some things behind. But the person who believes they can get whatever they desires without sacrifice tries to hold onto everything in an attempt to have it all. Instead of moving forward, they are stretched out horizontally and sitting on the fence of desicion making.
What happens when we fail to acknowledge the necessity of sacrifice and subconsciously hold the idea in our heads that we can have both things at the same time. You must embrace the fact that there are trade-offs in life and that you can’t have one thing without giving up another.
For me it all started with the burned out oil field worker who gives up his six-figure salary to become a high school Art teacher.
The law of sacrifice reveals and operates according to our personal value system. At the end of the day then, the most important question we should ask ourselves when evaluating our dreams, desires, and goals, may not be, “What am I willing to do to attain them?” but “What am I willing to give up?”
I gave up the mohawk for a job…
I gave up the job for an education…
I gave up money for freedom…
I gave up freedom to serve…
I am a leader…