Life Lessons and Words of Wisdom
Republican candidate for Congress in Minnesota's First District Jim Hagedorn visits Alma mater St. Paul’s Lutheran School in Truman
By Neal Meyer, Truman Tribune Publisher
This past Friday Jim Hagedorn, Republican candidate for Congress in Minnesota’s First District, visited with the student body at St. Paul’s Lutheran School in Truman. Hagedorn attended St. Paul’s kindergarten through seventh grade from 1967-1975, and was happy to take the opportunity to come back to speak to the current schoolchildren.
He opened the dialogue by giving a bit of his personal history about his life in Truman. He told the students about growing up on a farm just outside of town, going to school at St. Paul’s, and having parents that wanted him to know about God. Hagedorn said there were three things that he felt both fortunate and lucky to have received in his childhood – parents who wanted him to know about Jesus and his salvation, being able to attend St. Paul’s, and growing up in a small town like Truman. He went on to cover a bit of the town’s history and why he wants to help communities like the city of Truman to survive.
Hagedorn explained a bit about the inner workings of local, state, and federal government before explaining to the students why he wants to be a Congressman. “One of the reasons I want to go to congress is to help farmers,” said Hagedorn. “I want to make sure that farmers are able to stay in business.” He asked those in attendance to raise their hands if their family is involved in agriculture, and around two thirds of the students raised their hands.
After a bit of personal history, and an explanation of the role of government, Hagedorn moved onto three topics currently trending at St. Paul’s – Saying no to drugs, letting your light shine – praise God, and not being a bully. He shared with the room a photo taken of his family with President Reagan and First Lady Nancy. He explained how numerous First Ladies have a cause, and that Mrs. Reagan’s was ‘just say no to drugs’. He let the room know that ‘your dreams and your life may be cut short and you may limit yourself to grow up and help others’ if you get involved in things like drugs.
Bullying was the next point of interest. “I remember going to school here. Every once in a while I probably didn’t do the right thing and would tease one of my classmates, and there were times when my classmates would tease me. Today, a lot of that would be considered bullying, and that’s just not right, because it makes people feel bad,” said Hagedorn. Of St. Paul’s he went on to say, “I am just so glad that as we’ve grown in society with teachers like you have that we learn right from wrong in those areas.” He also spoke of ‘one of his favorite people in the world’ – his 18 year old special needs nephew. He wondered if he would be bullied when he was growing up, but was very happy to say that most people treat him very nice. “You’d be surprised when you treat someone nice how much that means to other people, not just the one you’re treating nice.”
Before getting to the third topic of interest Jim took a break to tell a couple of stories from his time at St. Paul’s – including the visit to the principal’s office. Many years ago a fellow classmate dared Jim to place a tack on his friend’s chair. He put the tack down, but it was noticed before being sat upon. After a theatrical reaction from the student who was about to sit on the tack Jim was invited to the principal’s office for a chat. The students were certainly amused.
Throughout the discussion Jim also fielded many questions. These questions ranged from, ‘how many times were you sent to the principal’s office’ to ‘have you met the President’? Many students were curious about which sports Mr. Hagedorn played when he was growing up, which sports teams were his favorites, and how his grades were as well. To answer those questions – Jim was only sent to the principal’s office once, met President Reagan, played basketball, is a Vikings fan, and had good grades.
Mr. Hagedorn gave some important lead-up material before looping back to the final topic – ‘Let your light shine – praise God’. He stated that individuals in Washington or those like himself running for Congress do so to ‘protect the country, protect the American people, protect the economy, and to protect our rights’. He listed four rights specifically – ‘the right to life, the right to religious freedom, the right to self-protection, and the right to free speech.’ He constitutionally resounded that these inalienable rights come from God. “Instead of coming from government, instead of coming from some President, or some Congressman, or somebody else, your right to free speech, your right to life, your right to everything comes from God.” He added that, “No government can give them to someone, and no government can take them away.”
Jim concluded his conversation with the students by speaking in defense of religious freedom. With religious freedom every student should have the right to ‘let their light shine’ and ‘praise God’. “The government’s role has to be to protect people to be sure they have every chance to have the life that God gave them. We have to have the right to religious freedom. A lot of people, unfortunately in our country, are starting to erode that right – the right of not only for you to go to church and believe what you want to believe, but the right of your pastors and teachers to tell you right from wrong, to preach the Bible, to let you what God really wants you to know. I would do everything possible to make sure you have that fundamental right . . . And remember, no person in office, not even the President, the most powerful person in the country and the world, no person can grant you rights and no person can take away your rights, they can only help defend your rights, because your rights come from God.
Written and posted with permission from the Truman Tribune.