A teacher’s great gift

Dedicated teachers at all levels will tell you this: The real payoff comes when their former students succeed, professionally and in life. News of these accomplishments sometimes shows up at our home in Christmas cards, often ones that include photos of their growing families. What a joy.

I was blessed with 22 years of befriending and teaching more than 2,000 students in a major university’s journalism school, retiring in 2000. Obviously not all have kept in touch though the years. No doubt some of them wouldn’t wish to. But many do continue to reach out, even if only once a year, to share the good news of their successes, and occasionally, I learn of them in other ways.

A short and incomplete list would show them in high-level positions on newspapers, wire services, radio and television, both network and local, public relations, advertising, magazine and book publishing. Some are authors. Many free-lance as writers and editors. Others have chosen to move into other fields and are excelling there: senior pastor, church administrator, and believe it or not, professor of journalism, among them.

They have grown from anxious teenagers into creative, productive adults, parents, leaders, innovators, and they deserve all the credit. This is life’s journey. That they freely share the news of their professional and personal lives along the way enriches the lives of those of us fortunate enough to have briefly crossed their paths, planted a seed, maybe even influenced them a little. I love them all as if they were my own children. They are.

What a great gift.


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