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How many teachers can you name and tell stories about? They are usually the ones that made the biggest impact on you during your educational career. I’ve had many great teachers over the years. Plus, I worked with phenomenal teachers as a parent and as a teacher myself. 

The heart of a teacher is wanting his/her students to learn and grow academically and personally. One of my many joys was to see how each student grew throughout the year. When they have that Ah ha! Moment that they finally understand something is just as powerful as when they realize how far kindness can go!

Mrs. Jones was my 5th grade teacher. She was a positive, encouraging teacher. I struggled in elementary school and was not a straight A student. She noticed when I would start to get frustrated and gave me encouraging nudges to keep trying. Her belief in my ability propelled me to keep trying and soon or later, I would succeed!

A fellow teacher I had the privilege of working with and all three of my kids had for 3rd grade, was the same way. I watched her reign in active boys and calm down dramatic girls. She taught in a way that reached all levels. Even if a student missed the same problem over and over, she took time to explain again in a different way. She could see and knew the potential that was there and drew it out of her students.

Mrs. Jones was that kind of teacher for me. She saw my potential and didn’t give up when I wanted to give up. She also saw something in me that I was not aware I had within me. There was a girl in my class that was falling behind in class and also was experiencing seizures. I don’t know the cause of the seizures and they were not obvious one. She would stare off into space for a short period of time then would be very tired when she came out of it. I had picked up on it on my own. If I was seated next to her, I’d be a little more observant, let the teacher know if she was having one, then help her with what she had missed. During the day, she and I were pulled out of class for a short amount of time so I could work with her one on one. This was a big responsibility for me. At that time, I was the one needing help. I was given the opportunity to help someone else. Mrs. Jones saw I was capable, willing and desired to help a fellow classmate. Seeing what the student was going through and the desire to help was my seed to becoming a teacher.

My favorite memories of teaching are spending time with each student, getting to know them, observing how they best learn, finding ways to encourage their growth and, finally, their Ah! Ha! Moments. There is so much more to a person then their outward abilities. The real fun is digging deep, exposing new strengths and abilities and watching the light bulb flash on!

We all have hidden strengths. Some you may be completely unaware of and shocked when you are able to do something you thought impossible. Some strengths are stewing right at the surface waiting for an opportunity to burst forth. No matter the case, we all need a little nudging. Someone who will take the time to see below they surface, recognize the potential and encourage the revealing of our strengths. 

Who knew I could fix a toilet with a $5 part (and no I will not come fix yours!). Who knew I could fix a dryer instead of having to buy a new one! Who knew I could replace a headlight light bulb in my car (Thank you youtube!) Who knew I could raise teenagers into young adults on my own. (And no I am not a teenager whisperer!) Who knew I could buy my first home on my own! Who knew that I would come out of the other side of grief and be a stronger person than I ever thought possible. Who knew???!!!…..  God did!!

All growth comes in layers. If He gave us the end result before we are ready, we would be so overwhelmed. We wouldn’t know what to do and would not understand what was going on. Insert the layers! Each new insight, each new depth of strength, the next layer is waiting to be accessed and explored. 

Believe in yourself. Believe there is more to you that is yet to be seen. Believe you have the strength to see the more in you. We become lazy and complacent when standing still. Even when you don’t know where the next step is going to lead, take the next step anyway. 

Be a Mrs. Jones and see the potential in your neighbor. Look beyond the facade and see the potential that is waiting to be released. Encourage one another and build each other up. Your neighbor needs the encouragement as much as you need to give it. We all have strength waiting to be accessed and used for His glory. Take a step deeper into Him and be encouraged by His strength within you.

Thank you for sharing a moment with me. We are in this together, encouraging one another, in Him. 

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