Sunday, January 2, 2011

We Affect Eternity

"A teacher affects eternity; no one can tell where his influence stops." —Henry Adams

Of course this is true of all teachers—and to some extent everyone's a teacher—whenever we have an interaction with another human being where we wish to impart knowledge or a skill. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, older siblings, and other family members serve as very important teachers for youngsters in families. Managers at work do a lot of teaching. But those of us who call ourselves teachers whether in the classroom or in a music or dance studio or whatever, we're the ones I think Mr. Adams meant to discuss.

It's easy enough to see the bright side of this quotation, you know, the idea that our successes as teachers will go on shining long into the future.

But our teacherly influence operates with regard to our shortcomings as teachers, too. This darker side is quite sobering... that our failures as teachers influence the world as well. It's equally true. So it's important we pay attention to how we might fail to brighten a kid's day, or to offer some encouragement to a students struggling to learn a new skill, and make sure we're as present as we can be each moment...

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