In Praise of Teachers

end of school year

As the end of school year approaches and the final bell sounds, I have a special message to all those wonderful teachers who have blessed our children all across our nation.

Thank You

For inspiring our kids’ sometimes wandering hearts and minds…
For channeling their energies into productive pursuits…
For loving our kids when they needed someone to love them…
For reinforcing the values we are working to instill in them…
For positively influencing the course of their history in the making…

As parents, we are naturally inclined to unconditionally love our children. It’s a choice, but it comes from a biological, adoptive, familial and spiritual connection to them. As teachers, you choose to love on and invest in children without those familial bonds. When we see someone care for, take an interest in, and love our kids the way you do, our hearts are full.

I recognize that too often teachers are underpaid, underappreciated and rarely recognized. Yet as dedicated professionals, you shape minds, stretch imaginations, challenge thinking, and mold character. You help us build the legacy that will lead our nation into the future. Here are some of the ways that you, teachers, make a huge difference for good in the lives of our kids:

You have a huge influence on your students, and you use that influence for good.

There are a lot of voices speaking into the ears of our kids these days. And the messages they have are often confusing, conflicting, self-absorbed, and misleading. We are thankful that you don’t take your influence lightly and look to direct them towards big ideas, noble pursuits, and healthy relationships.

You don’t just give them “head knowledge.” You give them “heart knowledge.”

Head knowledge is important, but heart knowledge—things like honesty, humility, courage, and love—is even more important and required to lead a productive, meaningful, and significant life.

You exemplify tenacity and perseverance, not just in tasks, but in relationships.

My son, Grant, was an orphan in Siberia, Russia until the age of 9 when we adopted him. He had never even gone to school until he joined our family! We went through some tough challenges together. But we didn’t give up on Grant and always loved him no matter what and still do. One of his teachers, Todd Patterson, a former military officer, wouldn’t give up on him either. His dedication to helping Grant encouraged and inspired him in so many ways.

You inspire our kids to want to be better people.

Some kids come from very difficult circumstances and family environments. When you teach and interact with our kids as positive role models, you help them to see that there are better ways to live other than, perhaps, the examples they see around them.

I once participated in one of our All Pro Dad chapter meetings at a school in Cedar Hill, Texas. When the teacher went around the room and asked the kids what they wanted to be when they grew up, one little boy in the group, who didn’t have a dad, said something I’ll never forget. He said, “When I grow up, I want to be an All Pro Dad.” Regardless of what his home life was like, the teacher (and the influence of the other dads in his life) inspired him to want to be something more…to one day be the loving and engaged dad that he never had.

There are many ways to measure the effectiveness of a teacher. Testing results. Graduation rates. Satisfaction scores from peers, parents, and students. But perhaps the greatest compliment, the best measure of a teacher’s impact, is when a parent or student says, “that teacher changed my life for the better.” As you go into your summer break, please know how much I and so many other parents love how you love our children whom we love so much.

Please share your story about how a teacher has impacted your life or your child’s life in a comment below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.