My daughter Elizabeth is in the right career. A middle school teacher, she has her share of “grief,” but she also enjoys moments of magic. At least that’s how I describe them. Her students were recently studying different religions, including Hinduism and Buddhism, as part of a social studies unit. They were amazed to realize that concepts of both religions were also part of Christianity, particularly the areas dealing with relationships. Buddha’s Eightfold Path was especially intriguing to them. As they read about kindness, love, and fairness, they looked at each other as if to say, “This is not that different from what I believe.” Then a couple of weeks later, the class was watching a televised segment of a news program, and the word karma was used by one of the commentators. Elizabeth said the students were thrilled at recognizing a word used on the program, and their excitement was contagious because she felt herself getting a little excited too.
When she told me this story, I recalled a phrase I read years ago written by a master teacher. I’ll have to paraphrase, but the gist of it is, “When I find myself with people who are beginning to breathe, occasionally I find myself catching my breath with them.” In my opinion, any teacher worth his or her salt (whatever that means exactly) should feel the same way.