"A teacher effects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops."
- Henry Adams
Maggie pulled her four year old son's hand a little harder as she hurried him up the sidewalk. A black pickup truck had slowed alongside them.
"Who's that, Mommy?"
"Let's keep walking," Maggie said. Not recognizing the truck, she picked up the pace.
Just then her son tripped on a stray branch and pulled on Maggie to wait. As she stopped, the dark glass of the passenger window rolled down and a young man with sunglasses leaned over to get a better look at the sidewalk couple.
"Mrs. Jensen, is that you?" Maggie looked up, responding with caution to the distantly familiar voice. She scooped up her son and took a step back from the street.
The driver stopped the truck, put it in park, and excitedly ran around to meet her. Taking off his sunglasses so Maggie could see him better, he said with a touch of disappointment, "You don't remember me, do you?"
Apprehension turned to delight as Maggie finally recognized her former student. "Of course I do, Jay. You're a hard one to forget."
"I never forgot you, Mrs. Jensen. You're the only one who gave me a chance."
Looking at him she could still see the twelve year old who fought the system. As the big, black truck rolled away, Maggie smiled as she read his business card, "Jay Getz, Architect."
Even if the results of your labor aren't immediately apparent, take joy in the fact that your influence reaches further than you know.
Your successes may not always show up in the classroom. Sometimes they show up when you expect them the least and need them the most.
(From APPLES & CHALKDUST, 1998)