The Power of Love

I friend of mine (this same friend, she’s pretty freakin’ awesome!) sent me this story, about a young pastor who heard of an interesting assignment at a Baltimore college (full article here):

One of the local college professors gave an assignment to his class. He asked them to go into the economically impoverished communities to get case histories of 200 young boys. They were asked to write an evaluation of each boy’s future. In every case the students wrote something like, “He hasn’t got a chance.”

Twenty-five years later another sociology professor came across the earlier study. He decided to use his class to follow up on the previous survey in order to see what had happened to those boys. With the exception of 20 boys who had moved away or died, the students learned that 176 of the remaining 180 had achieved more than ordinary success as lawyers, doctors, and businessmen.

The professor was astounded at the results and decided to pursue the matter further. Fortunately, the 176 men still lived in the area and his class interviewed each of them. They were asked the question, “How do you account for your success?” In each case the reply came with feeling, “There was a teacher.”

Investigating, the professor learned that the teacher was still alive. He personally went to speak with her. He asked her what magic formula she had used to pull these boys out of the slums into successful achievement. The teacher looked at him, broke into a smile, and said, “It’s really very simple, I loved those boys.”

Teaching is hard, but I think it’s made harder since many teachers have under-estimated or forgotten the simple power of love. They’ve traded it in for discipline, control, and rules – but what are these without love? A dictatorship. Everyone wants out of a dictatorship — classroom management problems anyone?

Kids aren’t stupid.  They know exactly who cares and who doesn’t.  For some this doesn’t matter and they’re able to use the school system to get what they want. But to others, caring matters. They’re relationship-driven and cannot abide insincerity of any kind and so they have no reason to stick with school.

Does anyone else have a huge problem with this scenario?!

I love my students very much and I think that most of them know it. Maybe it’s because I don’t have children of my own, but I think that kind of speculation is fruitless. I am blessed in that I often get to see my students after they graduate. I never tire of hearing the enthusiastic cries of “Mrrrrrrsssssss. Crrrrrrrrrrrrrruuuuuuuuumetttttttt!” from across the grocery store or shopping mall. It is always a joy to catch up with them (or their parents), even when it’s not good news.

Maybe in 25 years I’ll be able to see what great things “my boys” did after they left my classroom.  Maybe that’ll never happen.  In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the awesomeness that is “Miss, I want you to teach my grandbabies.”

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