by Sharon Stevens
Everyone has something to learn,
and everyone has something to teach.
At the post office one morning after a minuscule drizzle that sprinkled moisture on earth parched by drought, I watched as a little girl leapt across the walk and up the steps from one shimmering mirage to the next. There was not even enough water to make a splash. Nevertheless with each jump to the next indention she joyfully recited, “Puddle…puddle…puddle.” There was a woman following behind her guiding her up the steps who could have been her mother, aunt, friend, or grandmother. Our eyes connected over the child’s head as we were caught up in the magic of this enchanted moment.
I stayed and watched until the little girl twirled through the door of the building, then got in my car and drove away. I pondered for the rest of the day who it was that taught this little one to “read” puddles. Who gave her the gift to celebrate raindrops and rainbows? Who released the creativity and imagination she held within her heart? Who showed her there were sparkles in the sidewalk no matter how measured the moisture? Who whispered to her the song she sang that led her to dance with each step?
Today is Thanksgiving. A time we hold hands together to share the abundance that surrounds us and the life we treasure with our family and friends.
This day I want to recognize what I am truly most thankful for, and without question this is the life of a teacher.
Please acknowledge not only just the teacher in the classroom, but all educators in the purest sense of the word. They give us accolades or praise, and from somewhere deep within they recognize we are worthy of sharing everything good and kind in our community. Teachers surround us with courage and strength, joy and inspiration, and believe in us each and every day. I picture all of them with a halo shining above their heads, with their angel wings wrapping themselves around our fragile souls, protecting us against the evils in the world.
The following are just a few examples of the educators that touch our lives. It may simply be a Sunday school teacher or those that teach us to say grace at the family table. Take a moment to celebrate both those who do, and those who do not have a diploma hanging on the wall that decrees they are truly teachers.
Don’t discount the smile given by the greeter at the door of a business, a favorite eatery, at church or at school. Think about what this teaches a child, a parent, a friend and where they learned the basics. Who teaches the kids to bag groceries or wait tables, to make change, or meet the public? Who is it that touched our spirit to draw, paint, sculpt, or express in any medium we choose?
What about the doctors and nurses in the medical field that truly care for all humanities and species? Someone, somewhere shared their knowledge of the healing gifts that they now have passed on to the generations that follow, as well as for the future of our planet.
Where would we be without those that teach us to count the leaves on a tree, the rocks in our path or the legs on a bug? And then there are the scientists who show us how flowers grow, how frogs croak, how fish swim and snakes crawl. How about the engineers that teach us and our children to build with a hammer and nails, movie sets as well as skyscrapers, to construct with snow, with glue, with tape, with needle and thread, and with “More Than Bricks And Mortar.”” History, literature, theater, communication, dance, symphony, band, choir, journalism are all filled with those who give outside the usual school day.
Even within the schools there are countless people who do more than just their jobs. They are the janitors, cafeteria workers, secretaries, school bus drivers…those who impact the very basis of our lives. And don’t forget the dedicated coaches on the playing field, and also those who work with Kid’s Inc., Pee Wee, and Little League. They teach sportsmanship, fair play, discipline and tolerance.
What about the Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, 4-H, FFA, Key Clubs, Student Council, and all the other civic clubs that surround us? What about those who lead the meetings and teach the kids the life lessons they can carry with them wherever they go in life?
One of the most important teachers that are left out of the educational loop are those who teach us to volunteer. Not a lost art by any means, and every age and skill level can contribute in giving outside themselves when they are taught to volunteer. But then again how can you teach this gift?
We can’t forget about those who teach us how to do our chores. We learned to pick up after ourselves, to feed the family pet, to do the dishes, simple tasks that teach us the most fundamental lessons. Even the most successful and dedicated CEO’s of our world learned work ethic from those who were guided within the family.
And I want to give special mention to those that are the librarians and help all of us with the love of not only the written word, but everything else the library has to offer, whether it is in the public library or within the school.
Last but not least, I want to recognize the teachers who taught us to read and, with the same token, taught us how to write. To me this is the greatest gift of all. Besides my family, my friends, my critique group, Wordsmith Six, Jodi Thomas and DeWanna Pace, my original creative writing teachers, they have all given me the gift that I am most thankful for in my life!
My mind keeps going back to the sight of the little girl jumping from puddle to puddle in front of the post office. She had no idea that she was teaching me a life lesson in the simplest form. With her I witnessed a true miracle—that of a teacher! This child taught me everything I needed to know.
Happy Thanksgiving and may you celebrate the teachers in your life.