Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

August 29, 2012


Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

Many people have influenced my life — but I am surprised when I realize that many of them have been school teachers!  I think as a student I saw most teachers as some one to fear . . .  to avoid . . . to keep your distance!  At least for me that seemed to be my attitude as a high school student.  My declaration at this point is:  I had great teachers . . . I just had a bad attitude!

Later in life, I realized how many of my teachers had an influence on my life . . . not so much in what I learned academically, but in character.

One teacher’s influence has saturated my life since my high school days.  He was my geography teacher!  Geography was not my favorite subject.  Not because it was geography . . . I just didn’t have a favorite subject!  There was one thing different about that geography class!  I didn’t worry about going . . . even if I was unprepared! I never tensed up in fear I would be yelled at or put down.  Oh, I expected sternness.  I even anticipated learning something.

The teacher!  He was what made the class different.  I wish you could have known Mr. Niager.  For me, he was something different!  I believe I had a deep admiration for him, even though at that age I would have never admitted it.  He was recently married.  The son of a preacher!  Generally knowledgeable about the world!  Positive opinions about everything!  In charge of a multitude of activities at the school!  Loved sports!  Dressed and conducted himself as a gentleman!  But all this is not what really impressed me!

Now his trash can basket ball!  That’s another story!  I believe Mr. Niager must have spent most of his college career throwing paper wads in the trash basket!  That talent . . . he always bragged about!  He wanted to proved he was the world champion!  He was always waiting for the next challenge.  He would take on anyone . . . and usually, he won!  Many times we actually rushed to his class to have a quick “game” before the bell would ring for class to begin.  He never took a break between classes.  He just waited for the next challenger!

I am reminiscing!  What makes me remember that class over 60 years ago?  I will never forget the teacher!  I don’t remember much about the subject . . . but the teacher I remember!  He certainly was an influence on my life.

The influence?   He always had time for us . . . he was never too busy . . . he never ‘put us down’ . . . he never got angry with us . . . he talked to us about his life . . . he was transparent!  I remember so much of his character, spirit, and attitude.   He conducted himself always as a man of principle . . . love . . . and a friend.  I remember that he was always there when you had a problem . . . he was ready to talk . . . he made himself available . . .  he knew I existed!  I knew he loved me . . . and all the other students.

I think of Mr. Niager now and then.  He stands as a role model for those of us who want to be an influence in other lives – – regardless of our vocation or relationship to others!

Did Mr. Niager have some quality that only a few have? I think not!  I believe we all have the ability to be such an influence.  But I cannot discount some possible inputs in his life that helped him be the man of character he was.  Because he was transparent to us, we knew something about his personal life. Only years later could I understand some things in his life that I believed helped him be the person he was.  Mr. Roy Niager was a committed Christian and an active churchman!  Surely that accounts for the magnetism and spirit that he possessed as a teacher.

Perhaps some of us can grasp the importance of a relationship with Jesus Christ!  He makes a difference in every life!  For those of us who want to be a positive and lasting influence on others . . . perhaps we should explore what Christ can do in our lives!

“You are the light of the world.  A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify  your Father in heaven.”  (Matthew 5:14-16)



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