School is starting. No surprise there. I find myself thinking about teachers I had in church when I was a young teenager. A silver haired ex-prize fighter became our teacher shortly after his wife died. He was 72. I do not remember a single word he said in class. I do remember that he often wept while he tried to teach us. We did not think him unmanly for this. We were aware of how awful the pain was and what it took for him to agree to try to teach us. We did not, perhaps could not, use words very well. Yet, in some way, we sensed that he genuinely cared about us.
Class was disrupted when another boy came. He often ran the streets and had a lousy home life. Our teacher cared about him too; much to our jealous dismay. This boy fell out of a tree and broke his neck. He lived a few weeks and died. Our teacher went every day to see him at the hospital. Our teacher wept in class after the boy’s funeral.
I think about this man whose words I cannot recall, but who taught us compassion with his very life. I think about the impact of one life upon another. I think about those who teach our classes at Highland and I am grateful.