“In a completely rational society, the best of us would aspire to be teachers and the rest of us would have to settle for something less, because passing civilization along from one generation to the next ought to be the highest honor and the highest responsibility anyone could have.” –Lee Iococca
As I approach the last few days of my full-time career as an educator, I catch myself doing a lot of reflecting. End-of-year events trigger a flood of memories as I look back over my four decades of service in this profession. Overwhelmingly, my memories are pleasant, sometimes sad, many times humorous, but always cherished. Please allow me to share a few reflections with you as I close this chapter in my career.
When I have been asked why I chose to pursue a career in education, I fondly recall a book I read as an 18-year-old senior in high school. The book is entitled, They Call Me Coach, written by the legendary UCLA basketball coach, John Wooden. Arguably the greatest basketball coach in the history of college basketball, perhaps the greatest coach in any sport, Coach Wooden consistently described himself as a teacher of young men rather than simply a coach. As I read this book, I believe that God planted the seed for me to become a teacher, coach, and administrator. As I entered college, I envisioned my future as a lawyer. God clearly had other plans for my life as He carved out a new path for me in the field of education. I cannot think of a more meaningful and gratifying vocation. Every day for the last 42 years I have had the privilege and opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children. As head of school, I have also been afforded opportunities to encourage, inspire, admonish, and mentor adults, whether they be parents, classroom teachers, or support staff. I have been blessed beyond my imagination. That’s why Ephesians 3:20 resonates so much with me, “Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine…” (NRSV). When you ask me how I am and I respond, “Better than I deserve,” I truly mean it.
The following poem written by Glennis L. Harmon in 1948 captures my sentiment perfectly. I first read it 47 years ago, as it was quoted by Coach Wooden in his book. Its language is dated, but its message is timeless.
THEY ASK ME WHY I TEACH
“They ask me why I teach,
And I reply,
Where could I find more splendid company?
There sits a statesman,
Strong, unbiased, wise,
Another later Webster,
And there a doctor
Whose quick, steady hand
Can mend a bone,
Or stem the lifeblood’s flow.
A builder sits beside him-
The arches of a church he builds, wherein
That minister will speak the word of God,
And lead a stumbling soul to touch the Christ.
And all about
A lesser gathering
Of farmer, merchants, teachers,
Who work and vote and build
And plan and pray
Into a great tomorrow
And I say,
“I may not see the church,
Or hear the word,
Or eat the food their hands will grow.”
And yet – I may.
And later I may say,
“I knew the lad,
And he was strong,
Or weak, or kind, or proud,
Or bold, or gay.
I knew him once,
But then he was a boy.”
They ask me why I teach, and I reply,
“Where could I find more splendid company?”
Thank you, Legacy Christian Academy, for being such “splendid company” during my final six years as your leader/coach.
Legacy Christian Academy is Frisco's preeminent Pre-K through 12 Christian school committed to educating students in a college preparatory environment balanced in academics, athletics, and fine arts–all within the context of a biblical worldview. For more information on Legacy, visit our admissions page.