Last night I had a wonderful experience. A former student of mine arranged for me to have excellent near court side seats for the Dallas Mavericks @ Denver Nuggets contest last night. My godson Casey and I also sat at the Dallas bench during warmups. But perhaps what I enjoyed most was having a 15-20 minute conversation with Rick Carlisle, the long-time coach of the Mavericks. What a treat it was to have the experience of all of these things.
This same student has been so gracious through the years. My family and I have had the opportunity to meet both former President Obama and the First Lady. In addition, this student made it possible for me in 2016 to attend the World Series in Chicago to cheer on my beloved Chicago Cubs.
When I asked this student as to why he has been so kind to me, he responded by saying, “Mr. Black, when you where my teacher, you kept every promise as to how you were going to help me be a better writer and student. Because of that, you opened a world of possibilities for me. Since you did that, it is my privilege to be able to open some of my world to you.”
Last night after I returned home I reflected upon that quote. As a teacher, isn’t it my role to open as many worlds for my students as possible? Shouldn’t my persistence, care, relationship-building, and pursuit of excellence be such that I find ways to connect students with their learning passions? In a sense, isn’t the role of a teacher really that of a “World Opener”?
In addition, as a teacher in a Christian school, I also have the privilege, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to open the world of faith in a loving God who saved us from our sin through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. What a blessing it is to open the world of eternity to my students.
This isn’t just the work of educators. Parents help open worlds to their children. Bosses to their employees. And of course, as we have seen, students to their teachers.
What new world will you open to someone today?