One of my favorite stocking stuffers I received over Christmas was the DVD Courageous. If you have never happened to see this movie, it chronicles the lives of four officers and their promises they make to become better fathers. It’s message is powerful in showing how the influence of a father can change the lives of his children for the better, knowing they will be resting in God’s loving arms for all eternity. It was a smack upside the head for me to not take my children for granted and to lead them toward God every day. The final scene, one that literally brought me to tears, is shown below and is well worth the three minutes it takes to watch it.
When I think of this movie, I likewise connect it to my profession. I may only have my students for 49 minutes per day, but my influence on them can be as powerful as a father’s. Teachers many times will even call their students their “kids.” I wonder if you have had any students through the years whom have thought of you as a father figure. A gal I taught two years ago comes to mind. She approached me on the last day of school in tears, confessing that I was the closest thing to a father that she had. Her father had walked out on her at an early age and left her. He’s never spoken to her, and that poor girl’s guard was up against all male figures in her life–all because of her father.
The “I will” speech at the end of the movie makes me wonder if it could be recreated for a teacher, and I will do my best below to do so …
The impact a teacher has on his or her students could not be more important in today’s culture. More and more families are calling it quits. Children’s lives are becoming split between spending work days with mom and visiting dad on the weekends. Other mothers and fathers work two jobs each and simply don’t have time to be there for their kids. Stability may be in question at home, yet there is one place where they can savor that stability.
In the classroom.
It may only be for a short time every day, but teachers can provide the positive influence on kids that they so desperately crave. Teachers can model sound moral principles that students don’t receive at home. They can inject positive words of kindness and hope. They can listen to their problems, attend their extra-curricular events, and cheer them on in life from the sidelines.
Some teachers will hear this message and mock it. Others will hear it but not make time for it. And then there are the teachers that will see this desperate need for students to be acknowledged by someone, and they won’t just leave the nudge alone. They will do something about it. They will rise up and take these kids by the hand, leading them toward a place that is better than the hopelessness they see.
So where are you teachers of courage? Will you accept this calling to lead, or will you leave these kids high and dry? Our hearts became molded into education not for a paycheck to pay the bills but for the undying love we have for our students. It is time we show that love on a consistent basis. Not because we feel we need to but because we want to. Not out of guilt but out of a sincere empathy we feel for these kids.
Who will take advantage of every minute he has with his students? I will. Who will sacrifice an afternoon to go watch the basketball game after school and tell those kids how incredible their talents are the next day? I will. Who will wake up a little bit early, red-eyed and weary, to ensure the students get their essays back on time? I will. Who will show they truly care, making time to listen to every problem when these kids come into class sullen and sunk? I will. Who will model Christian principles on a daily basis, leading them toward eternity in heaven through observing my actions?