I was witness to a wonderful tradition. A small group of students from primary school come back every Chinese New Year to pay respect to a teacher that made a difference. He reminds me of a teacher from my past – someone who was insightful yet compassionate, firm yet flexible. The teacher in my story has passed. The legacy this teacher has left is an amazing one! Without regard to compensation, with a singular motive to serve, a young teacher made a difference.
As I watch the conversations, a few reminiscent but mostly in the present, kids were climbing on the furniture, banging the piano, and enjoying themselves. Everyone was relaxed, comfortable. The teacher’s wife was beyond happy. Her smile was permanently in place. I would almost hear her thoughts; “so long he went without recognition. They not have gotten it but these kids do! Amazing. They are all like my children.”
As we talked of the present, of politics and things happening around us, I realized the gift that this made had given each of his students. In each circumstance, he had assumed the best. Whatever had happened outside his classroom, were set aside. I could imagine the jealousy of others that realized what was happening. “Count yourself lucky, how happy you must be – you get a fresh start, your slate’s wiped clean.” (Psalm 32.1)
It was fun to share and be in the moment. It reminded me of how powerful acceptance is. I could see the opportunity that open when someone steps in and pays the price for my mistakes – giving me an unencumbered foundation. When this comes with a smile and a helping hand, wow, a perfect combination.
The legacy from our past is often a noose. While we learn, we continue to pay a price for our youth, weaknesses, and moments for forgetfulness. If anyone offers you a fresh slate, seize the day! It is a priceless gift, divine like. Life often comes with judgment and links to our past. This is something that feels new. Embrace it from your heart out.