Remember back in grade school when there was “that kid”– the one who was in some way different from the rest of the class? How did you treat that classmate?
1 Corinthians 12:4-6 teaches us, “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.”
The following is a letter from a former student to his fifth grade teacher. This teacher was so wise; she recognized the talents and gifts of all her students, no matter their outward appearance or behavior. She’s an excellent example of how to care well for others.
Hello Mrs. Cousins:
This is Elvis Evans. I am a former student of yours from way back in the days of 1977-78.
I do not think I ever had an opportunity to thank you. You were instrumental in the successes I have enjoyed in my life. In 1977, I was a lost kid looking for someone to understand me. I wore a hearing aide, which was an anomaly back then. I was also epileptic and wore orthopedic shoes, which back then only came in one style; wing tip. Needless to say, for a fifth grader with a hearing aide, wing tip orthopedic shoes who occasionally blacked out in class, I had some self-esteem issues. Did I mention my mother dressed me funny?
There were many cool classmates in my class. We had the likes of Leonard Brown, Jodie Webb, Kevin Kirtdoll and many more. These guys were cool, and some were extremely smart. Then, there I was, the funny looking black kid named Elvis. However, you always made me feel just as cool and smart as anyone else in the class. You never made me feel different. You just made me feel normal. That was all I ever needed. Like many others in the class, you encouraged me to open my mind to the unlimited possibilities that life had to offer. You made me believe that anything was possible if I was willing to work hard, invest time, and give my best. You also encouraged us to never try to be better than anyone else, but to never cease to be the very best that we could be. Those were life lessons.
A lot has happened since 1977-78. I am now Dr. Elvis Evans, a resident practicing at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, specializing in pediatric/fetal neurosurgery. I am happily married to a wonderful woman by the name of Beth.
I am happy to say that I have out grown epilepsy as well as the need for orthopedic shoes. I still have hearing loss in my right ear, but I have adjusted to it. Now as a physician I realize that although my fifth grade problems seemed to be mountains, they were only pebbles–stepping stones for future successes.
I just want to thank you for being a great teacher.
Elvis Jon Evans M.D.