By Marilynn Jemas, St. Louis, MO
Years ago I attended a National Philoptochos Biennial Convention and it was there that my theory was hatched. In the meeting room, during a lively discussion about autism, I observed that the group of 500 attendees contained an abundance of members from the teaching profession. Since that time, there have been many regular occurrences at Philoptochos meetings and events that strongly support my original observation. Philoptochos attracts many teachers who become active and involved members. On my own Metropolis of Chicago Board, the President, 1st Vice President and Chapter Advisor, along with several Board Members, all belong to the teaching profession. I am also a teacher.
All Philoptochos women are amazing! Each member weaves her own particular talents and career skills into the fabric of our Philoptochos in the same way that many individual women blend their nicest stitches to fashion a fancy quilt. We are most certainly a diverse group of women who readily share our service-oriented mindset with others of all paths. Philoptochos is fortunate to have this unique blending of women.
What is attracting so many teachers to participate wholeheartedly in Philoptochos? It seems teachers feel comfortable in this atmosphere. Our organization provides a supportive environment for teachers to utilize their communication skills, people skills and creativity. Teachers subscribe to the same, “More WE, less ME!” philosophy as do Philoptochos members. Teachers combine unselfish caring with compassionate action, day after day.
As Philoptochos volunteers, we represent generations of women that have worked hard, dedicating time and energy to make a difference for individuals today as well as future generations. It is often said that teaching is a calling to do something more for another person and to give something back to our fellow man. It is obvious that Philoptochos volunteers also feel a deep calling in their lives and willingly dedicate their efforts to a cause greater than themselves.
Dr. Laura Schlessinger expressed it well when she stated, “We have all touched other people and known it, but we have all touched some people and never known it. Either way, each person has something to give. And it is in the giving to one another that each one of our lives become meaningful.” So, whether you are a Philoptochos member and a teacher, or a Philoptochos member and not a teacher, it is the dedication of your time and talent to this organization that will add so much joy to your giving and living.
What do those in the teaching profession bring to Philoptochos? Teachers are self-starters and problem solvers. They raise the bar with their enthusiasm, motivation and innovation. Teachers are leaders and can carve a path for others to follow. They are quick to connect with others and form relationships that lead to lasting friendships. Teachers are great communicators, good listeners and appreciate the value of humor in problem solving.
Philoptochos is a collaborative effort. Many women from all over our country put their best efforts together, pool their resources and volunteer to successfully serve others. Robert John Meehan said about teachers, “The most valuable resource that all teachers have is each other. Without collaboration our growth is limited to our own perspectives.” The same can be said about the women of Philoptochos. Working together, we can continue to achieve great things.