Wednesday, November 04, 2015


Each year, I'm blessed with new students. Some of them will make lasting impacts on their teachers. A teacher's remembrances are based on any number of things, both positive and negative. This is what I recall about one young man. It ran on May 22, 2008.

Yesterday was the last day of school and I was walking out the door as this young man approached the front entrance. I had to look twice but it was Nahum. He's put on quite a bit of muscle since I saw him last summer. The son of Ethiopian parents, he was a student of mine in both middle school and high school Bible classes. After his senior year in 2006, Nahum spent a year in prep school and just completed his freshman year at a Florida junior college. He's still pursuing his goal of playing major college basketball and I hope he makes it. There are a lot of kids with the same dream so he faces considerable competition for the spots at the elite universities. I used Nahum in a chapel presentation when he was a sophomore. We had a memory verse in his Life Of Christ class that day. In front of the WCS student body, I pulled out a twenty dollar bill and told him it was his if he could recite the verse: he couldn't. I knew he wouldn't be able to quote it- that's why I picked him. Three hours later, though, when he took the memory quiz, he made a 100%. The point I tried to make was tied in with life and death and being prepared for the judgment. We all know they're coming- we just bet it won't be today.

There are two other things that stick in my mind about Nahum. One is that he may be the most polite person I have ever met in my life. After each sentence I spoke to him, he responded, "Yes, sir." He unfailingly dignifies the person he is conversing with and that is such a rarity these days. My other memory came from his eighth grade year. One day before class, Nahum asked me to do him a favor and I said I would. He asked, "Coach, will you tell me whenever I mess up?" He meant in class, in basketball, in life. Below, I will list every other student in my career who has made the same request.



You get the point. No other child has ever granted me the honor of helping guide their life with such sweeping permission. I wish I had that kind of honesty where I would not be embarrassed to bequeath on another the unregulated mandate to make me accountable in every facet of my life. I haven't reached Nahum's level of trust yet. He'll make it. I don't know if he'll make it like he wants to in basketball but he'll make it in life. Yes, sir, he will.

Applicable quote of the day:
"Politeness  is the flower of humanity."
Joseph Joubert

God bless,
Luke 18:1
E-mail me at


Randy Furco said...

This may be unrealted..but I noticed you wanted to travel to China, I thought the church had to be underground there?

I have always been confused about that.

Steve Hawley said...

Randy, the mission I am going with does medical work and runs orphanages. My understanding is the government allows them to perform these acts of kindness and therefore, 'let their lights shine.' I would guess the good news of Jesus would be seen in example instead of public preaching. I will know more in a couple of months. Thanks!

Family fun said...

our daughter-in-law is chinese. the church is underground there. the state allows people to come in who they feel will benefit them. they seem to turn a 'blind eye' to some of the religious things the groups do as long as they don't make a big deal about it. finding others who worship is very difficult; when our daughter-in-law returned back to china for 2 yrs, she never did locate a church. according to her most people only believe in scientific things - to the point of it almost being a religion.

i hope that information helps randy. it's very strange for me to understand them. they are also very insistant that problems not be 'public' - they won't go to others to help resolve a problem. if it does go public, even just one other person knowing, they feel it is somehow a dishonor. i.e.; we had a problem with our future daughter-in-law (before they even became engaged) and hoped to resolve it. feeling it might be a problem in communication, i went to the owner of our favorite chinese buffett. she helped with communication issues and then also helped communicate messages directly to her parents for me. i was later told by our son that her parents were very upset that others had known there was a problem. it takes the idea of gossip to a new level - no one knows anything - they won't share information even if it means in not sharing they would hurt themselves.

Marguerite said...

Blessings from Sweden!!!