I believe that teachers in Christian schools have one of the best and most powerful jobs in the world. I share three stories of gratitude with you, dear reader.
- Being a connector can be satisfying work! This past week I got into a conversation with a friend, a retired educator who has been in several positions of responsibility for leading Christian institutions. He wondered if I knew a former teacher of his, and I replied, “Know him! He attends my church.” My friend talked about how this teacher had impacted him in his high school days for good and sent along greetings to him. Now I don’t go to a large church, and so it just happened that I saw this former teacher in church. When I passed along the greetings I saw his mind churning through the grade books of former classes and he was not only able to identify my friend, but reminisced about others in the class and how much he grew as a professional and teacher in that school community. He left with a big smile on his face, having had his memories pleasantly stirred and realizing that his work had not been in vain, but instead had a significant impact on a life.
- A month ago I was with another friend and he told me a remarkable story. He was a bit of a rebellious youth (his own words!), and he wondered at the time if he mattered to anyone in his community. He was having a hard time finding his place or knowing how to get on with his life, and was wasting time in the meantime. His pastor asked him to ride along with him to a distant city and on the ride talked with him about his life and his aspirations. When they arrived at the city and the destination that the pastor needed, he turned over the keys to his car and encouraged my friend to drive on to another city and meet with admissions people at a college. Now I am not sure many of us would turn over our car keys to one of our rebellious youth and tell them to drive to another city to look at a college! Yet this pastor saw something in my friend, or was listening to the leading of the Spirit that inclined him to take a risk on him and trust him. Of course, as they say, the rest is history – my friend began an educational journey that continues to this day – because someone believed in him.
- A freshman at a small high school failed to pass the tryout for choir. This was a crushing blow as music was very important in his family. The next year the student fearfully tried out for choir again and not only made the choir, but the director seemed to see something in him. He suggested voice lessons and then after a few months, suggested that he would be singing the traditional senior Christmas solo. The director continued to build the confidence of the student, helping him with other opportunities for performance and encouraging him to try for, and obtain a scholarship to summer music camp, which was a life-changing experience for this student from a small, rural farming community. The performances that the student did helped him to get used to being up in front of people and were most helpful for a later speaking career. After college and many years went by, the student re-connected with his mentor and expressed his gratitude. I am that student and am grateful to God that I was given that opportunity to properly express to him (before he died an early death) what his belief and support of me meant and how it changed my life.
Who is in front of you that needs you to believe in them? Have you thanked the teachers and pastors in your life for what they poured into you?