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Consider this quote from Abe Lincoln

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."



     It is teacher appreciation week, and I thought today about some of the people who touched my life over the last forty some years. Although not the highest paid of all the people who will interact with young people during their most impressionable years, teachers are indeed ones that leave a lasting impression with us.

     From my earliest days in Sunday school, I remember teachers like Christine, and Maxine and of course, Mrs. Sanborn who taught us at school as well. They formed the first few years of my life, taught me the first stories about Jesus and his love and made me promise as a young man to stay away from drugs: (something I have kept true to even to this day.) We learned about life in those early rooms, where we were safe and cared for and enjoyed kool-aid that I’ve never been able to duplicate the taste of since.

     There was more school to come. Mrs. Garwood’s preschool was a special place, where I first learned to love the newspaper, and being read to. It was also the place where I learned about May Baskets and how to be a good sport by playing “Hot Potato”. After that quick year it was off to “real” school with the big yellow busses, which scared us and yet thrilled us at the same time. Mrs. Bowers taught us to line up straight, how to say the Pledge of Allegiance and also that no time when you have had milk and cookies should it not be followed up with a nap.

     In Mrs. Roe’s class we learned more about reading, and math, and what exactly a ruler could do to the back of your hand for talking out of turn. On through grade school there were more teachers who touched our lives. Mrs. Smith could scare the devil out of us when she dressed up like a witch, and Mrs. Saltsgaver showed us that each one of us was special and worked at a different pace. From Mrs. Sanborn we learned about Iowa history and although her name escapes me now, I to this day can’t read Where the Red Fern Grows without tearing up and thinking about those afternoons when even as 6th grade students we were read to.

     Jr. High and High School brought more stress and even greater knowledge. Mrs. Sorfonden taught each of us to recite the Gettysburg Address and to this day I still can by heart, every word. I muddled through Mr. Whitten’s Algebra class as he would cover himself with chalk dust by the end of the hour. Mr. Brigham who taught choir, made us sing from our stomachs and reminded us to open our mouths and smile. And my favorite of all Mrs. Hansen taught a rag-tag group of Ag students that we had the ability to be successful beyond our wildest dreams, and then pushed us until we were.

     Even today I learn, from my friends who are teachers, and those who spend time sharing their knowledge and yet never get paid for it. I know for some of the teachers out there, the days seem long and at times you wonder why you do it. I would warn you not to be too hasty to throw in the towel and walk away though, for there will come a day when you too will be remembered by a former student as someone who shaped their life and made them the person they have become. And in the end, there isn’t a greater gift that can be given or received.

     See you next week…remember, we’re all in this together.