I try to find out as much information about our students and I am always amazed at how little I actually know about the youngsters who reside in my classroom five times per week. The following, from 2006, is about a young man who I found I knew little about.
He was sitting in the upper school office right at the end of school this afternoon. Daniel, an eighth grader from Korea, had a instrument case on his lap. Our middle school American History instructor, Ruby Parker, requires each of her students to display a talent in her section on vaudeville. Some of the kids did skits or interpretive dance. Daniel played the violin. At the urging of several faculty members, he opened the case and played us a song. Actually, it was a piece by Bach. Chaul, one of my Chinese students and a senior, was standing there and, as a fellow violinist, identified the work for me. She told me Bach's compositions are difficult. From my non-existent musical expertise perspective, Daniel performed it flawlessly. I was blown away. As he concluded and we effusively praised him, I discovered Daniel is a student with perhaps the most prestigious violin teacher in Houston. Maybe he's the next Itzhak Perlman! At thirteen, Perlman won a talent competition in his native Israel, facilitating his studying at Julliard in the United States. From there, he has gone on to be what many consider the premier violinist of his generation. That journey sounds suspiciously like the one Daniel has embarked on. And I just thought he was another boy in my third period Bible class!
Teaching school gives me the chance to spend considerable time with good young people. Sometimes, we see them in a narrow slice of their lives. This afternoon, I saw Isa, one of my favorite all-time students, standing in the hallway. I didn't recognize her at first because she was not in her school uniform. She didn't look any different but her outfit wasn't WCS regulation gear which is how I have viewed her for three years. There is so much more to these kids than is readily apparent as they sit in front of me in wooden and metal desks. Two weeks ago, I found out that Brian, a student in Daniel's class, is one of the highest rated skiers in his age group in the country. Like Daniel, Brian is quiet in my presence and his exceptional talent went unnoticed by me. Jesus saw gifts in people that his contemporaries were blinded to. He saw a former demon possessed maniac as a missionary who could tell of God's great mercy. He gazed into the hearts of the sinful and saw faith where others only detected fault. He looked up in a tree and called down a tiny tax collector and labeled him a child of Abraham while Abraham's other sons called him a thief and a traitor. The Lord looks down on Daniel and beams at a young man with extraordinary musical gifts. Until today, I just saw an eighth grader who I wish would study just a little bit more. Today, I listened to Bach being brought to life on a violin and maybe, just maybe, I heard what Jesus sees.
Applicable quote of the day:
"I sounded like a thirteen year old with alot of promise."
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