Friday, February 03, 2017

Mr. Brown

As a teacher, I have always aspired to be like Charles Brown. This is from January 31, 2013.
Mr. Brown died on Monday. His name was Charles but it doesn't seem right for me to say that. Some old timers when I was a kid called him Swish but that never seemed to fit him, at least from my teenage perspective. You see, Mr. Brown was my high school government/economics teacher at York High School in York, Nebraska. He taught my brother, Dave, and my foster sisters, Cecelya and Sandy, as well, and at least one whole generation of Dukes at my small alma mater. But to simply say Mr. Brown was a teacher is to say Lincoln was a politician or Einstein was a scientist. Mr. Brown was so much more than that. He was selected as the best teacher in Nebraska the year I graduated but it didn't seem to be that big a deal to him. He once had been the basketball coach at YHS but he never seemed the coaching type. What he did seem to be was the kind of educator who lived his lessons and made you want to learn what he was offering. I can't say definitively that I became a government/history teacher solely because of Mr. Brown but his influence was a major push in my line of thinking as I moved onto college. This morning, I learned a few things from his obituary, like that he was ninety-three when he passed and that he was actually born in York. I discovered he had been a Naval Navigator and Pilot in World War Two and that he had matriculated at Doane College. (I think he would have been proud of me using matriculated in a sentence!) And I think the picture used in the York News-Times obituary was taken from my high school yearbook! Mr. Brown, frozen in time.

Roughly ten years ago, I wrote a book consisting of stories I use in class and devotional settings. One chapter was entitled Mr.Berry about another terrific instructor at my school. And being absolutely certain I won't sue myself for copyright violation, here was what I wrote about Charles Brown:
Fate also smiled on me when Charles Brown became my political science and economics instructor. Mr. Brown was a legend: while I was a senior, he was selected Nebraska's "State Teacher of the Year." He had total control of his classroom. He never raised his voice and never became angry. Discipline problems were non-existent. Making my own teaching debut, I fancied myself as the reincarnation of Mr. Brown. By the second week of my inaugural year, the reality set in that Mr. Brown did not become Mr. Brown in one day, one month, or one year. I hope I have moved closer to his teaching neighborhood as my experience has increased, but that neighborhood is exclusive and only the elite reside there.

In Matthew 10, Jesus tells us that,
 “A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master.
I would guess there are quite a few of us who hope to some day be like Mr. Brown. Jesus said that is enough....and Jesus would know. Rest in peace, Mr. Brown. And remember to drink your orange juice.

Applicable quote of the day # 1:

"The mediocre teacher tells.  The good teacher explains.  The superior teacher demonstrates.  The great teacher inspires."
William Arthur Ward

Applicable quote of the day # 2:
"In teaching you cannot see the fruit of a day's work.  It is invisible and remains so, maybe for twenty years."
Jacques Barzun

God bless,
Steve/ Student of Mr. Brown
Luke 18:1
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