It’s that time again! Most area schools will begin a new year in the next few days. As the husband of an educator, I am all too aware of this fact :). My wife, Cindy, begins another season with a fresh group of students this week. One of the things that I enjoy hearing her talk about is how much her students will improve over the course of the school year. I know she would say that it is not easy being a teacher, but it is worthwhile.
I see teachers as influencers. Some of my best teachers in the past were those who encouraged me to fulfill my potential. They showed concern for me and urged me on to do things I wasn’t sure I could do. Some of them may be surprised that I am a minister today!
When I think of a teacher who had a godly influence on her students, I think of my mother-in-law, LaRee Huxford. She taught for over 40 years in public and private schools in South Carolina. She was also one of the first female high school band directors in South Carolina. At her funeral two summers ago, I shared how amazed I was at the number of her former students who came to the visitation to pay their respects to their former teacher. Among the comments they shared were:
“Mrs. Huxford taught me how to read.”
“I learned to play the flute in the band because of Mrs. Huxford.”
“Mrs. Huxford loved me and cared for me when I was in her classroom.”
LaRee Huxford’s legacy lives on! Those statements are evidence of the influence she had on her students. Every teacher has that kind of potential to influence their students today.
You don’t have to be a teacher to influence others for the Kingdom, however. We all have the ability to encourage others in a mighty way. The writer of Hebrews said it this way:
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24).
That, my friends, is influence. Who are you influencing today? We come in contact with all kinds of people who need encouragement each day. Let’s “spur them on to love and good deeds” like the Scripture says. While you’re at it, thank a teacher today for influencing and encouraging young people today.