ABC World News featured a story Tuesday night on the recovery of Moore, Oklahoma one year after a massive tornado ripped through their community, killing 24. You may recall this storm’s path went through two schools. Several of the teachers risked their own lives to protect their students. The teacher in the photo is Ms. Sheri Bittle. Last year, she had her children get down on the ground, laid over them and prayed for their safety. When the ABC reporter asked her what she would say to parents who are grateful to her, for the extraordinary measures she took to care for their children, Ms. Bittle’s response was, “Your child is my child…all day long, all year long.” WOW, WOW, WOW!!! Hero, Superhero, Saint, Warrior...are there any words to accurately describe her? Yes, there is one - Teacher!
Teachers have a lasting, life-long impact and can change the trajectory of the lives of our children forever. Our church has the privilege of meeting in Murchison Middle School. We have had the opportunity to serve this staff and the staff at Pillow Elementary as a church community. We’re learning this unbelievable, heroic attitude of Ms. Bittle, is not uncommon as we get to know these teachers. The more teachers we meet, help or serve, the more we see how deeply they care about the kids they teach. Our system of compensation isn’t close to fair for these community servants, so I wanted to share with this story with you. You can see the ABC World News report here
Do you remember your teachers and their impact in your life? Mrs. Faucett, Mrs. Evans, Mrs. Peterson, Mrs. Bomar, Mrs. McKenna, Mr. Perez, Ms. Marroquin, Ms. Amato, Mrs. Curlee, Dr. Simpler, Mrs. West, Mrs. Kent, Mrs. Davis, Mr. Reedy, Mrs. Strobel, Mr. Robinson and so many others taught and inspired me as a child. The idea that CHRIST died for me and I could live forever with Him first sank in for me during a German class with Frau Revett (she’d be happy I remembered to use her German name). My life eternally changed because of a conversation I overheard between her and another student.
Our Savior had many titles and one was “Teacher”. He is the greatest teacher to have ever lived. Though JESUS taught over 2,000 years ago, He still changes the trajectory of the lives of those who come to know Him. In several New Testament letters, the authors explain that teaching is a gift. Those with the gift of teaching are urged to teach well. This story reminded me of the many talented teachers I know and see all over our community.
A few weeks ago, I had the privilege to lead a memorial service for a 29-year old teacher at Murchison, Drew Charlton. He had the gift of teaching. As the students of Murchison memorialized Mr. Charlton, it was so apparent that his legacy will go on in the lives of his students. Though he was only 29 and taught for a very short time, Mr. Charlton found his calling and his impact is immeasurable. A teacher's impact increases as they decrease; they are so effective because they give their lives to investing in others - the same could be true of you and me.
As the school year winds down, please take time to thank your teachers. If you have a way to be a blessing to them, whether it is a note, a gift card, a word of thanks or encouragement; do it!
We are fortunate to have such wonderful examples of selfless love teaching our children, as they devote their lives to improving the lives of others.
“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13 NLT)