John Jarpe: The meaning of sacrifice

Published 10:55 pm Wednesday, August 3, 2011

It’s hot, it’s the middle of summer, and it is baseball weather. In baseball, a fundamental way to score runs is to advance a runner a base by bunting. The batter knows he will be thrown out at first, but he’s giving up his out by bunting. It’s called a sacrifice. Hitters also try to get a fly ball to the outfield when a runner is on third and there are less than two outs. This is another sacrifice.
We’re finding the term sacrifice on the front pages lately, not just the sports page. Our political leaders have been using the term sacrifice a lot. When our Gov. Rick Snyder presented his budget, he asked for “shared sacrifice” so we could control deficits and hopefully get our Michigan economy moving again. With the debt ceiling agreement this week, our leaders in Washington also talked about compromises and sacrifice for the good of getting spending under control and helping future generations.
Critics of our leaders somewhat cynically think that the savings and sacrifices will go toward profits for the upper classes, and won’t help create jobs. I certainly hope this is not the case. If it is, will people be willing to sacrifice in the future? Hope and optimism are key ingredients of sacrifice.
Closer to home, school districts like Brandywine, where I’m fortunate to live and work, were built by people who sacrificed. More than 50 years ago, for the sake of their children and for future generations, the people of Brandywine sacrificed to build our school district and that sacrifice has benefited generations of Bobcats.  People who work in our district recently sacrificed pay and benefit concessions so our schools can work within our budget. Parents have volunteered more, too.
Our fighting men and women give the ultimate sacrifice for our country. In addition to their commitment, the support of our public schools is a great example of giving up things for today for the sake and success of tomorrow. Those of us who work in schools truly appreciate what our co-workers, our parents, and all of our residents have given up for future generations locally, in Michigan, and across the country.