This weekend, I came face-to-face with the realization that teachers make a huge difference.  I am stating the obvious, but sometimes we need reality to slap us in the face, lest we forget.

It has been a busy few days for our family as we dropped Micah off about six hours away to begin his college adventure.  As we sat through many parent sessions, my wife and I got a glimpse of Micah’s next four years.  We heard many familiar words – engagement, diversity, integrity, family, compassion, sustainability, community, rigor, tolerance, relationships.  Interestingly enough, these are many of the same words my children hear continuously at our house.  This shouldn’t be a surprise to me, given my wife and I attended the same college just a few decades ago.  For the most part, it seems the themes have remained the same.

The surprise for me was that I never made the direct connection between how my current belief system was so strongly influenced by my teachers, and specifically, my college community.  The adults in my life taught me content, but more than that, they helped me see the world in a different context.  They adjusted my perspective by asking more questions and giving fewer answers, challenging my assumptions, and somehow instilling in me an insatiable thirst for life-long learning.  As we all know, this process started years prior, with some of my first teachers.  Yep.  That is what educators do every day, and when you think about it, that is pretty important work.

When I left his dorm room, I gave Micah a big hug and smiled when I looked at his t-shirt, which summed it all up.  I miss Micah, but know he is surrounded by an incredible community of teachers who will have a profound impact on his life.  Indeed, what more could a parent want?