Writer this week is educator and artist Nancy Thayer, whose paintings
hang in collections around the world. In this 5-part series, Nancy
examines aspects of her life that fit the emerging model of a “faith
Do you remember the movie where Jack Nicholson tells Helen Hunt, “You make me want to be a better person”? She had been extraordinarily patient and compassionate while he had been a self-absorbed wacko! She had seen potential where others saw annoyance. She inspired him to want to give up self-destructive habits and be a better person. The movie is called simply, “As Good As It Gets.”
Have you ever met someone who made you want to be a better person? Someone who brought out your better qualities? Someone who led you out of a feeling of inadequacy or inferiority and into a feeling of confidence, courage or self-assurance?
This person, by definition then, was an educator, “one who leads out.”
In my first article, I suggested that a leader is one who inspires, guides and communicates. When thinking about teachers who have inspired me, I think about those special few who expressed a sincere interest in me, an appreciation for who I am and a willingness to share their knowledge and experience without a sense of superiority.
In a conversation with a friend about inspired teachers, the idea came up again and again that it wasn’t the information that was communicated in lectures or the expertise in the field of study that the teacher obviously possessed that made the educator stand out. It was the leadership qualities expressed that gave the students a sense of confidence, enthusiasm and a greater sense of worth.
These were educators who led by example.
Much of my work as a teacher is influenced and guided by the study and practice of my faith. While it is necessary for me to judge performance and determine grades for assignments and exams, it is not my job to pass judgment on a student’s potential for progress, success or outstanding accomplishments. My faith in the unlimited source of intelligence, ideas and inspiration available to each of us from an infinitely compassionate Creator allows me to expect receptivity and productivity. Amazing results have often come from this faith-based perspective.
Have you had an inspiring teacher? Someone who led you to go beyond what you had expected to accomplish? One who made you want to be a better student? A better person?
Please tell us about your experiences.
Please, Add a Comment. Where have you seen this kind of problem arising? What solutions have you found?