He was my soccer coach, my swimming coach, my mentor, role model, and most importantly, he was my Grade 6 teacher. I don’t think he was a Christian but then neither was I. He had a love for young people and a deep desire to impact them for the good! I was one of a group that used to hang onto every word he said. I can remember how I used to look forward to getting my end of term report from him simply because it mattered to me what he thought of me! His comments were incisive and invariably accurate – he seemed to know what we were thinking about and whether this was good for us in the long run – he was not afraid to call a spade a spade! My parents recognised the value of having someone like him in my life. If they threatened me with a visit to Mr.W. I would modify my behaviour quickly and do whatever it took to avoid the latter! Such is the power of a good mentor!
A few years after Gateway Primary School started I was sitting in my office finishing off some things that I had to do before the next day, the secretaries had gone home and the school was quiet. I heard footprints coming towards my office, a head popped round the corner and there was Mr. W. as large as life!
He happened to be in the area and had heard that I was the Headmaster of a new school and decided to see if he could catch me before I went home. We chatted together for a while catching up on the many years that had elapsed since our last meeting. He was about to leave the country for the UK. That was the last time I saw him.
In my school days teachers of his calibre were rare, and to think that I just took his influence for granted! I wish I could see him again for five minutes to thank him for the impact that he had in my life! Is there a teacher in your life who has helped you to become the person that you are today – a Mr Fish or a Mrs Betani? Why don’t you write them a note or email them to thank them for being the people that they are/were and for being the positive influence that they have been in your life!
If you are currently teaching in a school, pause and reflect on the positive impact you are having or should be having on the pupils you teach or coach. As Christian teachers we have a God-given opportunity to make a difference in these young lives, for eternity. Don’t let us waste one precious moment. As C.T. Studd said, ‘Only one life, ‘twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.’