The Power of a Good Sunday School Teacher
“I was thirteen years old when God worked through Theo Abby, my Sunday school teacher, to change my life. In a real sense, I had been "fatherless."
My father was alive. In fact, he was home every night, and I never knew him to gamble or drink or cheat on my mother. But he never told me, "I love you." And when I needed help, like the time when I was sick on a rainy Sunday morning and had to get my newspapers delivered, I knew not to even ask him. As I grew toward manhood, my father and I never discussed the difficult issues of life.
Then Theo Abby became my teacher and my friend. Occasionally he visited the federal housing project where I lived to see me and other boys in our class, and he invited us to go with him and his son Ted to his lakeside cabin. There he modeled with Ted a loving father-son relationship.
As an adult I remembered Mr. Abby's example and decided to teach boys in Sunday school. Like Mr. I kept in touch with the boys through the week by inviting the entire class to be my guests at the Dwarf House, my first restaurant, one night a week. I soon began to see how children bursting with potential can wither on the vine without adequate guidance from adults.
Eleven-year-old Harry Brown, whose quiet demeanor reminded me of myself as a child, had a father like mine, distant and hard to please. When Mr. Brown abandoned the family altogether, Mrs. Brown was left alone to bring up five boys. She did a remarkable job, and I tried to give Harry special attention in class or during our weekly dinners. I set goals for my class in their Bible reading, and Harry met every one. His mother and I encouraged him at every step. Then my wife, Jeannette, and I moved from the neighborhood, and I didn't see Harry for more than twenty years. By the time we met again, he and his wife, Brenda, had become foster parents, providing the fatherly love and two-parent stability for others that Harry had missed as a teenager."
A couple of days ago I mentioned how I had been impacted by my Sunday School teacher, Miss Elsie Dennison. Here's more testimony of the power of a teacher. Something to think about for those out there who invest week by week in the lives of children. Your efforts may seem small and worthless, but they can change and profoundly influence the course of young lives.