In the year 2005, I retired from a nice long career as a teacher and school principal in both public and private schools. As with most teachers, I had many good, wonderful moments, and a few not so good. That’s normal and to be expected in a human world of sin—a world filled with both good and bad. In an educational environment with children and young people of various ages from young elementary to high school age, I met and worked with great students and wonderful teachers, most of whom I will never forget.
I believe my most favorite and memorable moment occurred one day when I was walking the playground as principal of a 10-grade Junior Academy in California. It was a beautiful sunny day, and as I was strolling along a couple of the lower grade classes were out for recess.
Out of no where, I felt a small hand grab mine and I saw this sweet little child look up at this big man, her principal with grey hair and a grey beard and ask, “ARE YOU JESUS?” Wow! Now that is some question, a real one, and she seemed so serious.
With a little tear in my eye, I assured her that I was not Jesus. I assured her I was nothing like Jesus, but I sure wanted to be like Him. She said, “You seem so nice and kind.” I told this dear child that that’s the way I always want to be, not only to my kids at school, but everyone.
I took her back to her teacher and then went inside to my office, sat down and wept a moment, offered up a prayer for this little angel, and reflected on the influence that teachers and school principals have on children—those precious little ones who may not hear often enough at home or anywhere that they are loved and someone cares about them.
That encounter that day changed my life. I renewed my covenant that special day with my Lord to always be a positive influence and example for those I work with and for my family at home. Friend, my question for you is: Do the people who are a part of your life know that you love and care about them and that Jesus loves and cares about them, too?
Richard Burnett is a member of the Milton Adventist Church, and has spent years serving in the education system as both a teacher and a principal.