The Teacher Who Showed Us Jesus and Gave Us a Conscience


Welcome to “Tuesday Tributes,” a new series here on the blog. The series is about lifting up people who have impacted our lives. They may be our teachers, neighbors, parents, friends, or mentors.

Each Tuesday I will share a story about someone who has inspired me, mentored me in the faith, or shaped my character. Then you can tell your stories in the comments about someone who has impacted you in a similar way.

Today’s tribute is about Mrs. Bricker who was my 5th grade teacher.

How do public school teachers manage to remain faithful to Christ when they are not supposed to invoke his name in the classroom? If Christians are to be light to the world, how much are public school teachers allowed to shine before administration tells them to hide it under a bushel?

I don’t know if Mrs. Bricker ever told us she was a Christian that year, but when I found that out it was not a surprise to me. She probably wasn’t supposed to talk about such things, but even without talking about Jesus, she showed us his love.

Mrs. Bricker worked with us to write our own class rules. She encouraged us to think out-loud together about the importance of respecting one another.

She modeled respect in how she treated each one of us. She never raised her voice. She didn’t have to because we respected her.

When we misbehaved for other teachers, Mrs. Bricker corrected us calmly. She was clear that we had messed up, but her kindness gave us hope that we could do better.

Toward the end of the year Mrs. Bricker taught us a poem that she memorized in school. It was called, “Myself” and the author wrote about wanting to make choices that he could live with. Mrs. Bricker told us that these words had always stuck with her and made her think of the choices she made in life.

Each of us was required to recite the poem aloud to the class. We didn’t have to memorize it but I have always remembered the lessons she taught us with it.

The last couple of lines always stuck with me,

Whatever happens I want to be

Self respecting and conscience free.

I felt inspired by this idea of behaving in ways that would leave me with a clean conscience. The poem resonated with me all the more because Mrs. Bricker showed us what it looked like to live that way.

Like I say, Mrs. Bricker didn’t cross any lines separating church and state. She simply showed us Jesus by respecting us, and teaching us to respect one another. I believe she was Jesus to us when she gave us dignity even when we did undignified things. Through modeling “conscience free” living, she was pointing us to God’s better way for our lives.

When I speak to groups about living out their faith in their everyday lives, inevitably someone raises the question of “what if my job won’t let me talk about Jesus?” I think of people in my life like Mrs. Bricker and I tell them you do it by showing them the love of Jesus through your love and respect for them.

What about you? Do you recall teachers who both gave and received respect in the classroom? Who has helped shape your character or conscience? Who in your life has shown you the love of Jesus in how they have treated you?

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Sandy Bricker on April 3, 2013 at 9:53 am

    Thank you for the kind words, Jennifer. We never know how God is using us in some small way to share His love with others. May His guidance and presence be with you as you continue in your own ministry of sharing His love.

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