By Paul Gasque
As she made her way across the parking lot to her car, a voice rang out with a hint of youthful enthusiasm. It was the voice of one of her former students from years ago. The cheerful, glimmering smile beaming from the face of this former student also evoked a message of its own. A friendly conversation evolved into a proud moment as teacher and student came together once again, not in a classroom but in the reality of life that children are prepared for, but at such young and tender ages, youthful eyes cannot see and little minds have yet to understand. The voice and the smile of a now mature young man or woman have a way of saying “Thank you” that mere words are inadequate to express.
Teachers give of themselves in ways that far supersede the offering of material gifts. They are called to be patient in times of distress, hopeful in times of despair, strong in the midst of weariness, and confident in times of decision. They are expected to give when there is little left to give and to persevere without complaint or resignation. Life has a way of stealing our joy, robbing us of our dreams, dashing our hopes and breaking our hearts. We incur losses that often give rise to feelings of abandonment and loneliness. And the circumstances of life sometimes cause us to question the meaning and purpose of our lives. But what a godly teacher gives no one can take away. Each of us can conjure up memories of that favorite teacher who believed in us even when others had given up on us, and gave us the confidence to believe in ourselves; who recognized our potential when all we knew was our limits; who loved us for who we were and not what others
said; who gave us a sense of dignity when we felt ashamed, and who comforted us in our fears.
Teachers, do know that the impact you have had on the countless numbers of students who have passed through your classroom is never lost through time or temperament. The difference you have made in the lives of your “children” is a testimony to the vision you never lost sight of, of a better world that simple care, compassion and concern can engender.
So, on this National Teachers Appreciation Week, with a voice and a smile, let me say “Thank you” on behalf of a world that really does care about the contributions our teachers are making and in gratitude to Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior who himself was often called “Teacher.”
By Paul Gasque