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August 9, 2016, 10:16 AM

Thank a Teacher

If you are reading this newsletter, thank a teacher!

Somewhere along the line someone showed you how to read and write the letters of the alphabet. And to count your fingers and toes. And what to call the animals and objects in our physical world. And how to express our needs, like “I’m hungry”. And how to identify our feelings. “I’m happy, or sad, or afraid, or angry.” How to feel loved and how to be loving.

For most of us, our first teachers were our parents, especially our mothers. They held us, changed us, praised us for taking our first tentative steps, let us spill our milk and drop food off our spoons until we got it right. They encouraged us to say our first words. They prepared us for the larger world outside our home.

Then came school. In most of the world children do not have the opportunity to go to school. Public education is not guaranteed. We are blessed to live in a place and time that values education and provides learning to our children. What happens in school prepares us to survive and thrive in our society and world.

The basis of education is not school buildings, or books, or pencils and paper. Education is primarily based on the relationship of a teacher and a student. At some point in time we become capable and responsible for continuing our own education. But even then, there is a teacher behind our learning skills. With education should come both increased confidence and increased humility. As has been often observed, in every human endeavor we stand on the shoulders of giants, those who have gone before us and showed us the way.

This month our children are going back to school. They will be greeted by some of the heroes in our communities, teachers. At school, teachers will nurture and guide our young people. Sometimes they will even supply pencils and notebooks out of their own pockets for their students who can’t afford them. They will encourage them and praise their efforts and correct their mistakes. They are the extension of the love and nurture and guidance the children experience at home. Sometimes, they are the substitute for the lack of such nurture at home.

In the New Testament the first followers of Jesus commonly refer to him by two names that tell us who he is. One is “Lord”, and “Jesus is Lord” was the earliest recorded confession of faith in the early church. The other name used when addressing Jesus was “Teacher.” It was a name Jesus accepted for himself, and teaching is what he came to do. He came to teach us what is real and true. He said, “If you continue my words, you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

This month as a church, may we honor our teachers for their important contribution to the lifelong learning that gives meaning to our lives.

Teachers, we thank you!

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