In Praise Of Jimmy Carter

Last month I was so inspired when I heard with what courage and grace President Jimmy Carter handled his diagnosis of serious cancer – and then, in spite of that, he went to teach his usual Sunday School classes. I was reminded of a marvelous and important event at the White House in 1980 when he inaugurated the Department of Education and celebrated that with a Tribute to Teachers in a “Salute to Learning Day.” I was so happy to be a part of honoring the two vital teachers in my life, Adele Marcus and Vladimir Horowitz. Six of us gave an homage to those most special people in our lives – our teachers, and we were fortunate to have wonderful ones. The profession is not given enough recognition for the responsibility it has in shaping our lives – at times even more than our parents. Good teachers are not always easy to find but if you are passionate about what you want to do, keep looking. I would like to share with you the poem that was on the back of the White House invitation:

A Tribute to an Honorable Teacher Don’t name him Teacher, say, or Speaker Unless you probe the meaning of the Word. Names mill and choke us like a restless Herd. Conceal Old Truths and Values from the Seeker. And often Pretense, Posture are preferr’d. Numbered Nothing is computed and promoted. While Truth is fear’d and Beauty goes unnoted. Remember Passerby, his Trade was Man, Owning himself like Jim, born free like Huck, Born with an Essence bigger than his Luck. Inspired by Giants when they were in the Land, Nourishing minds till Wisdom makes them Whole – So is the Man! Behold his Master Soul, Older than Time, Young as the break of day! No busy world can take his Gift away. Tom Sutherland

President Carter continues to teach us every day by the way he chooses to live his life with all his zest possible and his faith in the larger plan for all of us.