Underrated, Unappreciated, and Grossly Underpaid: Essential Professionals We Often Take For Granted

Like many of the issues and topics I write about in my column, the one that you are reading now came as a result of a recent visit to a retirement home that provides assisted living accommodations to adults with special needs and challenges. The demands and duties that the professionals and health care providers are required to render in attending to the residents are truly exceptional and often exhausting. Observing the staff and people who (for the most part) do their best to meet the needs of patients and residents in this facility impressed upon me the idea for this column. There are four areas of professionals that we are going to consider today that are underrated, underappreciated, and grossly underpaid.

Healthcare Providers and Professionals
Since it was this category that provided the idea for this material today, we will consider it first. The COVID-19 pandemic proved how valuable the health care providers and professionals are to the general well-being of the public. This is especially true for physician assistants, nurses, technician specialists, and all who work in collaboration as subordinates to doctors. I dare to say how worse the general public would have been during the heat of the battle against the pandemic had it not been for the professionals who served on the front lines to keep this killer plague at bay. Many, to the detriment of their families and selves, are the reason we were able to withstand the tidal wave of COVID-19. We are truly indebted to these often underrated, unappreciated, and grossly underpaid professionals who are the heroes and heroines in the war against the plague.

Educators in the Public School System
I know by indirect experience that teachers, guidance counselors, principals, and all who are educators in the public school system are some of the most underrated, underappreciated, and underpaid professionals there are. Since my wife and daughter are educators, I have an inside track to the difficulties that public school educators are confronted with in the day and time that we are living in. There are quite a few factors that are contributing to the challenges that public school teachers are confronted with today that make it hard for them to do their jobs in a proficient and effective fashion. Things like having too many students in the classrooms, defiant children with little or no home training, as well as the state and school rules, regulations, and restrictions that have all but tied the hands of teachers. These are just a few of the challenges and disadvantages that make public school educators one of the most underrated, underappreciated, and underpaid professionals in America.

Law Enforcement
There has almost always been a soft spot in my heart for law enforcement officers. These men and women (who are given an awesome responsibility of keeping us safe and secure from criminals) have the dual task of both apprehending violators and investigating those who “innocent until proven guilty”. Their jobs and duties come with the risk of often putting their lives on the line for the security and safety of others like me and you. These individuals are certainly in the category of the underrated, underappreciated, and underpaid. To all of the critics and anti-policemen out there who support the defunding of the police departments, I say, “shut up!” In spite of having a few bad apples in their ranks occasionally, I dread to say how bad off we would be as a community and culture without the presence and power to enforce the law without law enforcement officers. The criminals, robbers, murderers, and violators would have a field day free for the picking with little or no restraint.

Pastors and Those Who Watch for Your Soul
I have included this as my last section due to three obvious reasons. First, I am a pastor and have been one for over forty years. Second, this is officially pastor’s appreciation month. Finally, and certainly the most important reason is the value that God places upon those he has called and chosen to be pastors. I can think of no other professionals who are as underrated, underappreciated, and often underpaid as pastors who, arguably, wear more hats of responsibility than any other professional. True pastors who take their calling seriously are more than those who preach on Sunday or during midweek service. They visit the sick, they dedicate babies, they officiate at weddings, and they eulogize and officiate at funerals. Furthermore, they give counseling and advice to various people and groups. True pastors must give much time, prayer, and study of the Scriptures in order to spiritually nurture, sustain, and mature the flock. They are always on call for some emergency that involves one of their members. However, perhaps the value of pastors that many often take for granted is contained in the following passage that will conclude our column: “Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God” (Hebrews 13:17).

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