By Ruth DuCharme
As an elementary education major at Mercer, Caitlyn travels to schools in our county to do field work. Caitlyn has a deep love for children and connects well with them. I imagine that when she enters a classroom, children can sense her love for them and are drawn to her.
She was recently telling me about going into her new classroom at Williams Elementary. One of the five-year-old boys in the classroom came over to her and said, "I like you." Caitlyn said, "I like you, too." He asked her to sit with him at lunch, and then to keep the conversation going he looked at her and said, "I like your eyelashes." I am glad that Caitlyn is pursuing a career in teaching. I can only guess that this will be the first of many of her students who will think that she has pretty eyelashes.
In the classrooms of our lives we have had teachers and mentors that we have admired. Some teachers made us feel loved and worthy, and some teachers inspired us and helped to shape our lives. Sometimes teaching can be a very difficult profession. The paper work is enormous. There are student situations that can break your heart. The days are sometimes difficult and uninspiring, but most teachers that I know persevere and commit their lives to the work of imparting knowledge and shaping the lives of their students.
On the last Sunday in January, I sat in the Great Room with some dedicated teachers. Their classrooms are found along the hallways of our church. Their students are old and young, men and women, boys and girls. They had come to share lunch, to be inspired, and to receive encouragement. I hope that each one of them realizes how valuable they are to the spiritual growth of our church. I hope that they know how much we appreciate their dedication and commitment to serving in this way.
Sometimes being a Sunday School teacher isn't an easy job, either. There are times when only a remnant shows up for the lesson. There are mornings when there is little inspiration in the room, and there are times when no one seems to really appreciate the time and effort that is being put forth. However, I know that these teachers are also committed to sharing knowledge and shaping lives.
Bible study is a valuable tool that can aid us in growing spiritually and in deepening our faith. For those who have committed their time and energy to teaching, and for those who come to share in the telling of the stories of faith, let me share a gentle reminder with you of the importance of your role. David Keith, Dean of the Townsend School of Music at Mercer, was recently conducting a choral group that I was singing with, and as we were mundanely preparing the Hallelujah Chorus for the finale of our program he said something to us that I will never forget. He said, "As you sing this chorus that is so familiar to you, remember that there will be some in the audience who will hear it for the first time and some who will hear it for the last time."
As we come together to learn and relearn the stories of our faith. May we also remember that there are those among us who may be hearing these stories for the first time and others who may be hearing them for the last time. May we continue to gather for the study of God's Word with a deeper understanding of how these stories touch our lives and draw us closer to our God.