I just finished reading “Teacher Man” by Frank McCourt, about his years teaching English in New York City High Schools. He encourages his students to write, write, write to help them understand themselves and the world around them. And I started thinking about his teaching methods and his insecurity about his ability to teach and I thought that we’re all teachers. We teach something to everyone we meet. We try to teach them about who we think we are, and they learn about who we really are.
I was a father to seven children at one time in my life, two came as step-children. I tried to teach them, using my parents, aunts, uncles and other adults as role models, but never felt completely comfortable in the role. They learned. They learned some examples of how not to be a father, along with some examples of good parenthood. They grew up under my usually heavy-handed style. They’re parents now, all but two, and they’ve had their turn at teaching their own, and I’m proud of them for the way they’ve handled themselves through all the twists and turns in their lives. And so the teaching continues, generation after generation. And I feel very lucky to have been there during their growth, and thank them for the things they taught me and are still teaching me. I’m sure they don’t think of themselves as teachers to their father, but they are and I’m proud of them for it.