April 28, 2020 - Principal
When I woke up this morning I was saddened to hear about the death of our dear Sister Eunice Hooper. My heart goes out for those who are in nursing homes and assistant living homes during covid-19. I was even further saddened to hear about the death of my very first and favorite principal who hired me in 1970 as a teacher. She died on her birthday, April 27, 2020. She was more than a principal, she was a mentor, counselor, mother hen, teacher, visionary, professional, energizer, encourager and beautiful on the inside and out. If you have ever been a teacher or worked in any capacity under a good principal, you never forget them, for they are very special people called to carry out a high calling. I pray that all of us today will take time to contact someone who helped you along the way in life. Remember, most of the principals were teachers before they became principals. Sometime we forget those who helped shape us into who we are today. If it had not been for this great lady, there is no telling where I would have ended up in life. I owe it all to her, for she was the exemplar of a true leader. Just for a little while today, I am able to forget about the coronavirus and concentrate on how precious life has been, still is and will be.
A friend shared this reading with me on yesterday and I apply it to my dear principal's life. "Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for a while and leave footprints on our hearts and we are never the same." What will people say about us once we have departed this old life? Did we make an impression on others so deep that it fosters good will on others?
The greatest principal and teacher to ever live was Jesus who had 12 teachers in his school of religion. We know good teachers can transform us into persons we never thought we could become. These 12 were Jews, uneducated commoners and simple men of faith who gave up everything to follow Christ. Jesus spent three years teaching these men how to become leaders and transformers in the world. Judas never received his tenure as a teacher because of his betrayal and refusal to follow Jesus's teachings. Jesus taught in one of the greatest universities of all times, the temple. He taught the eleven some of the greatest lessons one could ever learn. One of those lessons and my favorite was, "Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:16) The question I ask all of us today is, "Are we allowing our lights to shine so that others may see our good works so that God may get the glory? During this present crisis with covid-19, we can take time to take inventory of who we really are and how we are positively impacting the lives of others, be it family or associates. I refer you today to Matthew 22: 36-40, "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment of the Law?" Jesus replied, "Love the Lord our God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it, "Love your neighbor as yourself."
A good principal teaches us some lessons that we shall never forget. Some of those lessons that I shall never forget from Dr. Gretta Gordy Burnett were these:
Just because you are a country boy does not mean you cannot excel and succeed
If you can't discipline your students, you can't teach them. They deserve your best
I don't care how challenging a child may be, there is always something good to share
Even if you are criticized and castigated by others, hold your head up high
The job is yours, but you must prove yourself to be worthy
Your wife is right before your eyes, don't be no fool
Life just isn't fair, even when you have given your all, but just keep giving your best
People will dislike you and won't know why, but love them any how
Once upon a time principals and teachers were the most respected and honored professions in a community. Today I honor all principals and teachers who impacted our lives in such significant ways.
To the best, you allowed your light to shine and we are all grateful for it.
Not a sermon, just a thought!
Robert Earl Slade, Pastor