"To teach John Latin, it is not enough to know Latin-- one must also know and love John."
I ponder this because I have moved from a career of practicing medicine to a career of teaching with a little writing on the side. A couple of times a week I face two dozen community college students and work to impart the intricacies of anatomy and physiology.
I really thought I was called to teach in a Catholic school--and maybe I will eventually. I just want to blurt out all these beautiful truths that flow from the principle of the sanctity of human life. In a secular school setting there is no blurting. So I stand before my students and witness indirectly.
I have an innate tendency to stridently march forward with a hammer in my hand ready to pound my opposition into conversion. I think God is teaching me a gentler and more effective method. He places me before these students ostensibly to teach them a college course in biology. Yet, there are so many opportunities to teach about Him.
The most obvious is to teach about this wondrous creation of the human body. How can anyone marvel at the complexities of anatomy that mesh perfectly to support our physiology. If you appreciate the choreography of electrical, chemical, and mechanical events that must occur with precision for every heartbeat, our very life seems miraculous. It is folly to attribute this to random chance.
Loving my students also means listening and being alert to the times they need a little extra encouragement. The young mother with a sick infant needs to know that this phase of sleep deprivation will pass. The older mothers need to know that their choice to put their own education on hold while they attended to their family needs was a reasonable and even admirable choice. They are not too old to learn. God, in his wisdom, puts each of us in a given place for a reason. One of my students had a beloved grandmother who decided to forgo further medical treatments for her chronic disease. My student was struggling to accept this decision. I knew this student was Catholic so I offered her a book by Archbishop Gomez on end of life decisions. She was very grateful and shared it with her family.
What I try to convey to my students is that wherever they are in their time of life, they have an individual calling. Their life is a gift and the way to show their gratitude for this gift is by living every minute of life for God's glory.