For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children,
encouraging, comforting, and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory. 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12, NIV
The towering lineman filled my doorway, catching me by surprise. This former student of mine had recently graduated from college and had returned to our high school to help with the football team while pursuing a graduate degree and his dreams of a collegiate coaching career.
After a few minutes of catching up, he reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet. He removed a worn and yellowed piece of notebook paper. As he unfolded it, I could see across the top a familiar cartoon with the caption, “You can’t scare me. I’m a teacher.”
When this young man was my student, we spent hours working on his writing skills, future plans, attitude, and his walk as a Christian. Near the end of his high school career, I had become frustrated with his lack of effort. So one day, I had written this note for him listing the final assignments due along with the grades he needed to earn college credit for the courses. Across the bottom of the note, in all caps, it read: FINISH STRONG!
He went on to tell me that this note had pushed him through difficult classes, knee surgery, football practices, and final exams throughout his college career. I could not believe that he had carried my words with him all of this time. I told him that if I would’ve known about some of his struggles, I would have handled things differently. But as I voiced this, he stopped me and said that these words were exactly what he needed to hear at the time for many reasons.
Isn’t it amazing how the Holy Spirit leads us? As I think back, I can now see how God used my quickly-penned note for a much bigger purpose.
Heavenly Father, Your wisdom is complete, and we depend upon Your Holy Spirit to guide us in our daily interactions with students. As we approach the craziness at the end of a school year, may we continue to act on Your promptings and “write the notes” as You lead. Allow our words to bring comfort and encouragement to our students long after they leave our classrooms. We ask in Your Son’s precious name, Amen.
Copyright Lori Vandeventer.
Lori Vandeventer is a member and a corporation librarian/dual-credit English teacher from Indiana.