Monday, November 24, 2014

Teachers - Gratitude 2

I had the chance today to sign up for a teleconference with one of my favorite teachers, Rachel Naomi Remen. She is offering a free class in mid-December featuring stories on The Will to Live, and I am looking forward to hearing her read. Dr. Remen's books were introduced to me when I was a first year medical student by the volunteer who coordinated and led the complementary and alternative medicine group that I participated in. She gave each of us a copy of Kitchen Table Wisdom and I devoured it. I read it several times that busy first year becase it gave me courage and hope. It remains one of the most important, influential books that I have ever read in terms of how I approach patients and medicine. It reassured me that there is a place for me at medicine's table, that the spiritual and relational perspective that comes most naturally to me has its own voice, even now in the era of technology and randomized controlled trials and 10 minute visits. I have given the book in turn to many friends and students

In my life I have been so blessed by teachers. From grade school through high school through college through medical school through residency and even today, my life has been filled with people who have poured out their knowledge, wisdom and caring on me. I would not be the person I am today without my teachers. They taught me, and they taught me how to learn, and they taught me to love to learn, and that has made a tremendous difference to me and then in turn to others. One of my own deepest privileges is to take my own turn as a teacher, passing along the gifts that were given so freely to me as well as I am able. There is something sacred about taking part in this living, breathing lineage of human knowledge.

My daughter is just entering education at this point in her life, having officially started "real" preschool this year (as opposed to daycare preschool). I like her teacher very much; a veteran teacher of over twenty years with a fun but no nonsense approach. Her teacher is also from Texas which my husband and I appreciate a great deal, since our daughter was born in San Antonio and we still miss living there. I hope that my daughter will be so fortunate in her teachers all of her education, just as I have been.

I have friends who are full time teachers and I know how desperately hard they work and how deeply they care about their students. I know they don't get nearly the appreciation they deserve and that they often hear more complaints than compliments. So, today I am grateful for all teachers, everywhere. I am thankful to them for their dedication, concern, enthusiasm, knowledge, patience and persistence. None of us would be where we are, reading these words, without them.