One reason to become a teacher

On Friday I was fortunate enough to attend the wedding of one of my former students. Over the years there’ve been way too many funerals, but this was my first alumni wedding.

During the reception, I had the most wonderful conversations with the groom, his parents, and with his best man, who had also been a student of mine. They really overwhelmed me with their kind words; I can’t possibly convey how touched and honored I felt. Marriages are for families and friends; it was a privilege to be numbered among those.

And there’s one of the upsides of teaching: if you stay in the field long enough, you do get to touch a lot of lives. I’m hard pressed to think of another career where you build so many close relationships with people right at the time in their lives when they’re growing the most. They don’t always come back and tell you, but if you’re not some bitter freak who’s skating by on the minimum possible effort, the effect you’re having is a good one–probably better than you realize.

If you can apply the word “blindsided” to a positive experience, then that’s the one I would use here. I felt like I meant more to these young men than I’d really known, and if that was the case, then how many other people’s lives have I influenced in this way?

Photo by Alison Taylor

I also found myself reflecting back on my own amazing wedding, and reliving the experience in my mind as I watched another young couple begin their journey. Beyond the trip down memory lane, though, I listened to the message the officiant shared, and those shared by the bride, the groom, and the bride’s father, and considered how they applied to my own marriage. It made me think that I really don’t get to do this enough; it might do us married folks some good to attend more weddings, re-experience some of that youthful excitement and bliss, and mentally renew our own commitments. Kind of like a romantic booster shot!

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