Teachers are special.
As I think back over my lifetime, I remember all the teachers who influenced me. I can't point to one teacher and say, "They did poorly." Admittedly, there were teachers more effective than others but all in all I learned something of value from every one of them.
The grace of Mrs. Waring and the focused approach of Mrs. Musser carried me through first and second grade. The jibing and fun atmosphere of Mr. Ellis added to my third and fifth grade. Wrapped in between these grades was Miss Nastase who would make the statement to me, "Someday you'll be a philosopher." Mr. Dobo taught me the value of art.
Then sixth grade brought me into Miss Grove's tutelage. She was a combination of Mother Theresa and a drill sergeant and I use the last descriptor in the most sincere terms. Still remember the day I dislocated my middle finger and Miss Grove was my mother away from home. She coddled me and waited with me till my mother arrived to deliver me to the ER. Ah, good times!
Throughout junior high I was blessed with influencers like Miss Manner, Mr. Pipik, Mr. Smith, Mr. Edwards, Mrs. Butler, Mr. Kay, Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Gruenthaner (sp?), and others.
Senior high was a mixture of teachers like Mr. Caslow, Miss George, Mr. Zakutney, Mr. Hoover, Mr. Brungo, Mr. Brown, Mr. Golembosky, and Mr. Jones who taught at the Clearfield county Vo-Tech.
This list does not come close to naming all of the bus drivers, janitors, principals, guidance counselors, cafeteria workers, and office staff. This list doesn't include all the pastors, pastor's spouses, and Sunday school teachers. Onto Lock Haven University and then Evangelical Seminary where I was nurtured and influenced even more.
You see, our lives are filled with women and men who have invested their lives into a career that builds and fills minds with knowledge and dreams. They thrive when a student comes to the answer through a journey of discovery and 'aha' moments. They implore. They challenge. They celebrate with us. They sacrifice for the success of the students.
The other day in our pastor's cluster meeting, we talked about Jesus as Rabbi and we talked about the meaning of his title. Rabbi means teacher. Jesus was the model we need to follow as we teach and influence those around us. We must answer the call to sacrifice for others, to challenge others, and to implore them to consider dreaming bigger dreams.
How are you doing in the influencing department? Are you one who encourages and lifts another person higher? Hope so.