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My apology to teachers everywhere

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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Elementary school-aged boy sitting in his classroom, not paying attention to his teacher, with his head in his hand looking slightly distressed and confused (Credit: Tyler Olson via Fotolia)

Today is National Teacher Day, part of Teacher Appreciation Week. (Tweet this) Few of you owe teachers more appreciation than I do.

Five of my six elementary school teachers stopped teaching after I was their student.  You can do the math.  I melted crayons into my first-grade teacher’s hair, made a ball-point pen into a stink bomb in second grade, knocked chalk dust into the window air conditioner in fourth grade, and dismantled the playground chain-link fence in fifth grade.  There are more stories to tell, but space is short.  As you can see, my teachers deserve all the gratitude I can communicate today.

So do yours.  Given the moral challenges of our day, C. S. Lewis was right: “The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.”  Alfred North Whitehead observed that great people plant trees they’ll never sit under.  Those who have planted seeds of truth in your soul brought life that will bear fruit eternally. (Tweet this)

Have you thanked them?

Today I have written emails to several teachers who have influenced me the most.  And I am using today’s Cultural Commentary to express my gratitude to one particular institution whose commitment to Christ has marked me for eternity.

I have been privileged to teach and speak at Dallas Baptist University for nearly 30 years.  In addition to my work as president of the Denison Forum, I serve as DBU’s Senior Fellow for Global Studies and lead its Institute for Global Engagement.  I have seen first-hand the difference God’s Spirit can make in the lives of teachers and students.

When Dr. Gary Cook became president of DBU in 1988, the school was struggling financially, facing an uncertain future and enormous challenges.  His first act was to begin an intercessory prayer ministry for the university.  In the years since, student enrollment has tripled, assets have grown seven-fold, and the number of graduate students has grown more than ten-fold.  Last year, the National Council on Teacher Quality ranked DBU’s elementary school preparation program number one in America, ahead of Texas A&M, Ohio State, LSU, the University of Texas at Austin, and other prestigious schools.  (To learn more about Dallas Baptist University, click here.)

Dr. Cook is one of the most godly and gifted servant leaders I have ever known.  On this Teacher Appreciation Day, I want to thank him and his faculty for the difference they have made in my life.  And I want to encourage you to thank those teachers whose influence has been used by God in your life and soul.

Legendary coach and teacher John Wooden: “I think the teaching profession contributes more to the future of our society than any other single profession.”  I agree.