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Wednesday, November 16, 2005


I had a conference to go to today about reading. A bunch of us from school went together. Right before the conference began an older gentleman set right beside me. I thought in my head, "Why me." He didn't look very happy. He was very serious. I was in my personal space.

As the conference began we listened and took notes from the speaker. Then she had us read a passage, right down our thoughts about it and then share with a neighbor. The older man was all alone, so I turned to him. He told me his name, Frank. I told him mine. Frank had to be in his late 60's early 70's.

I shared first. Nothing very insightful, just my thoughts.

He went next. He stayed quite serious but as he began to talk he had so much thought and wisdom. He began to relate with the passage.

He once had cancer. He was in the military and the Vietnam War. He was a recovering alcoholic and went to AA meetings.

As he talked, he had my full attention. I wanted to hear his story. I had so many questions. What grade did he teach? Why wasn't he retired? But it was time to listen to the speaker again.

We broke for lunch and I thought about inviting him to join us. I decided against it. After lunch when the meeting continued, we had another share time. This time I didn't even think about it, I was going to share with him again.

This time I asked my questions.

He had been teaching for 13 years. He taught first grade. He had retired from the military but wanted to teach.

My mouth dropped. I was in total shock. Why would someone of his age want to teach when he could stay at home and do hobby things? Do things that retired men do. First grade? That takes so much time and patience. But how amazing!

I asked him if the kids just loved him? Did they want to hang on him all day? Did they look to him as a grandfather? Did he love it?

All the answers were, "Yes" and a smile.

I then asked what did his wife think? He paused and smiled an even bigger smile. "She love it."

He told me stories of how his helped his students. How they emailed him. How he still met with many of them throughout the years. He told me how he sat on the floor with the kids and asked them to tell him what they had been thinking about the book. As he talked he brought tears to my eyes. I totally amazed me with his love and passion. Something I have been missing lately.

As the meeting came to a close we turned and started talking again. We shared different teaching ideas. We had so much in common. We couldn't stop talking. I told him what an inspiration he was to me. How honored I was that he sat beside me. What a blessing today had been with learning of his story. I told him that I hoped we bumped into each other some day. He told me that he would look my school up on the internet.

As he gathered all of the books he had purchased and couldn't wait to read and apply to his teaching, he told me, "God bless you" and walked away. I had met an amazing man. I believe one of the most amazing men I have ever met. My day was so complete because of Frank. Because of his excitement, love, dedication, passion, heart for teaching and children.

Yup...I am bawling here. What an amazing day, Sunny! What an awesome blessing! I am so glad for you!! He's an angel...he must be.
I thought the same thing! I am glad it touched you like it touched me! Now if I can just take some of that back into my classroom!
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