Do not lose sight of what they may become…

We applaud you.

For those of you working in the education arena – no matter the where, how or with whom – we applaud you?

As a new school season begins, we pray you feel a fresh connection to your calling – to why you do what you do.

Education is important in our family. Son and daughter-in-law are educators in the public school system. My father was a university president years ago. Members of our extended family are professional teachers, as well.

Today, some of you are questioning if teaching or other roles in education is really for you. You’re wondering if you can survive another school year.

My husband has served in higher education for twenty-five years.

I say served because it is what he considers his life calling. He does not spend much time in a traditional classroom setting, but he is educating none-the-less. As a coach over the years, and now as vice president for inter-collegiate athletics, he holds a unique place of impact in the lives of student athletes.

We have two children of our own, but my husband has helped raise hundreds of young men (and a few young women, too).

As an athletic coach, this relationship begins with the recruitment process and continues over the next few years, as they pursue their university education.

I could say it stops when they graduate, but it really does not. This has become obvious over the years as I’ve observed Coach is often the first person they call or stop by to visit when they…

  • get a new job
  • get engaged to marry
  • become a parent for the first (or second or third) time
  • find out they’ve lost their job
  • need advice
  • experience pain or loss

It has taken me a few decades to fully understand the bond between a coach and athlete.

And I know from my own personal experience this extends beyond athletic coaches. We could be talking here about a coach-teacher of music, drama, cheer, or other team situations.

We can’t stop there, though. Students also develop special relationships with academic professors or teachers – most likely those who take time to listen, share and invest at a very formative and critical point in that student’s life.

Here’s the thing. To those students you are influencing right now – all they really see is the right now. For them, it’s what’s happening in this moment. I mean for most of them, they’re having trouble seeing beyond that cute guy or gorgeous girl sitting across the room, right?

But as an adult, you get a glimpse into their future.

If you are in education at any level, thank you! Never lose sight of why you do what you do. Or of what students may become, because of you.Don’t forget what is happening in the here and now is contributing to their tomorrow. You have maybe only this one opportunity to impact the rest of their lives.

Isn’t this a lot like God’s role in our lives? It’s difficult for us to see beyond the right now, but He sees our future.

As we give Him place in our lives, He contributes to who we are becoming. He teaches, disciplines and grows us into people of tomorrow.

A few days ago, we interacted on social media with one of my husband’s former athletes – a starting center on the men’s basketball team in the 1990’s. He was about to board a plane headed for Afghanistan.

This was not his first tour of duty for our country.

Can I say this to all you educators (and coaches)? Do not lose sight of what they may become. You do not know where God may take them as they step into tomorrow.

Today, my husband’s former athletes are serving in their places around the world…as American soldiers, businessmen, pastors, dads, professional counselors and worship leaders.

There’s at least one U.S. marshal and a university administrator in the bunch. There are musicians, corporate executives, athletic coaches, husbands, teachers, IT specialists, youth pastors, business owners – and the list goes on and on.

Whatever your role – teacher, professor, department head, athletic coach, or the coach of any team, for that matter… whatever your role – whatever you do – whatever you say…

Do not lose sight of the future in them. Your contribution is helping to build the kingdom-leaders of tomorrow.

image #1 – Alexis Brown

 image #2 – Stephen Baker