Enjoying the Journey
Teachers are powerful people. This month thousands of teachers will be recognized. Few will be appreciated as they deserve. As I think over my elementary, junior high, high school, college, and seminary years I remember quite a variety of teachers, and realize that God used each of them to help shape my life in some way.
A few months ago my mother called and said that she had found an old book of mine at home and was sending it to me. (My wife was very excited that I would have one more book to add to the collection around the house!) This book was not a biography, a theological treatise, or one of the classics. No. It was The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster.
Don’t laugh! I am keeping this book forever. My 9-year-old son thinks the story line is great, but that is not the reason. In the front cover of the book there is a handwritten note from my sixth grade teacher. It says:
Thanks for all the times you relieved me during story time. You did so well.
P.S. Use that talent for the Lord!
There is no way Mr. Hess could have known how God was using him to prepare me. Each afternoon our popular teacher read from some book for a few minutes to our class. It was a welcomed reprieve from the rigors of the day. One afternoon Mr. Hess walked to my desk, handed me the book of the week, and informed me that I was reading to the class. This became a regular practice. Looking back now I can see more of God’s unconscious preparation in my life.
Reading aloud each afternoon taught me several things…
- I learned a deeper love of books.
- I learned how to read with emotion and emphasis, not just to get through the story but to communicate it.
- I learned to stand before peers and speak clearly.
- I learned confidence.
I learned many things that year. The following summer God called me to be a preacher. Every week of my life I stand before people to read the Bible and speak. When I do, I thank God for my sixth grade teacher. I thank God for Mr. Hess and pray that someone will remember me someday the way I remember him.
Read more about the influence of teachers here.