I am not sure that any of us truly thought this day would come. Generally every Spring, we would hear dad say something along the lines of he was glad for the school year to be over, and that he was looking forward to heading to Coulee City to sit on a tractor for a while. But, it was always just exhaustion speaking. You can get that way when you pour yourself, heart and soul into what you do.
I would say that my dad probably ruined me, where teachers and schools are concerned. Growing up, I often heard my dad say, “If it is worth doing, it is worth doing well”, but it wasn’t his words that stuck so much as it was his “doing well.”
When I became a parent, and our kids became old enough to enter the school system, I was shocked to find that not everyone that is hired as a teacher, is as dedicated to the success of kids as my dad is. I never saw him pick and choose which kids he would invest in and I certainly never witnessed him approaching his calling as a 8-3 job. Matter of fact; Parents and students a like could find my dad in his classroom, available, from early morning until after 6:00 p.m then, should they want or need him after dinner, he was there too.
I have since learned, that there is a huge difference in someone who has answered a call on their life, and those that become teachers for less lofty reasons. And sadly enough there are more of them then ot to be.
I would wage to bet that if there was a grading system for teachers in place, my dad would be retiring with honors.
Retiring, the word is such a strange word for a man who gave it all…..and a word that doesn’t even come close to describing this life event.
When I was young, and living at home, my dad loved to listen to Paul Harvey. For those that don’t know who Paul Harvey was, he was a radio commentator who told the stories of every day, not so average folk. Showing us that while we might think that we know someones story… there is always a “The Rest Of The Story.” that accompanies the known.
I cannot wait, to see dad’s “rest of the story.”, the part of the Paul Harvey broadcast that was less known. See we all, know he is a brilliant teacher, gifted far beyond a normal gifting… That is the part of the story that we all see…. It is what lies under that which has me…… intrigued, waiting, anticipating.
Did you know that he is a published author?, with more books in him for sure.
Today will be hard, as he walks away, leaving it all on the floor, so much of who is has been has been attached to the title “teacher”, while the label really never leaves when you leave the class room, I suppose it can feel that way.
I cannot help but to think about all the kids that he has changed… me included. While I may not have turned out exactly as he had hoped, certainly my life was changed by his commitment to do what he was called to do. Yet, I am certainly not the only one…. I think of Scott, and Clint, and Jeff and………………well way to many to mention and more than even I know.
So today isn’t the good-bye of anything, rather it is the beginning of “the rest of the story.”