Here is an article that one of our contributors sent to me. It fits well with our current theme of parents being the primary spiritual teachers of their children.
The Greatest Teacher I Have Ever Known
By Rob Seyler
While I was in high school I had a teacher named Leonard who taught me more than any other teacher. In fact, I would say he influenced me more than any other human I have known. He taught me literature, hard work, humility, godliness, a love of the Scriptures, discernment, critical thought, authenticity, manhood, music appreciation, even love. He was a small man but had a commanding presence—not only did he teach in a rich, colorful, caring way, but he also lived a life of transparency and courage that struck a chord with me as a teenage guy.
And while my journey through my teenage years was marked by a maelstrom of rebellion and an obstinate refusal to oblige the people in my life who were throwing me life-lines, Leonard continued to teach me, love me, and pour his life into me. He never stopped. He never compromised. He never gave up. Sadly, I don’t think I ever gave him much feedback or even a hint that he was getting through . . . yet he refused to withhold himself, his love, his knowledge, or his time with me. He was the greatest earthly manifestation of grace in my life during my tumultuous teenage years.
Leonard was my greatest teacher. Leonard was my father.
Dad was an uneducated janitor, saved out of drunkenness, full of flaws and failings, a pauper according to worldly standards, not mighty or extremely talented . . . yet a man who moved me in incredible ways.
I say that to help you realize several things:
- Your child’s greatest teacher is you. Believe it or not, embrace it or not, do it well or not . . . it is true. God has ordained parents to be the primary agents of learning in a child’s life.
- Perfection is not a prerequisite for skillful parenting. My father frequently exposed his imperfections as he parented. But imperfection does not negate duty, jurisdiction, or influence. Don’t let Satan whisper that lie in your ear.
- Couple both time and teaching. My father spoke much about God but also “lived much” for God. Both were critical for me in my development.
- With me being one of your child’s teachers (even if it is Bible), I want you to know that I believe that I am only a minor character in your child’s story. You, however, are a major character. Embrace that and let it fuel your parenting flame.
Rob is the high school Bible teacher at Grandview Park Baptist School in Des Moines, Iowa. He and his wife, Kim, have five children.