Though we recognize that our experiences in life help define who we become, we may need some hindsight to understand the impact of specific individuals.
Lorna Reed recently returned to BYU to earn her teaching certificate through the McKay School of Education. Her inspiration to return was generated through a series of events discussed in part 1. Her teaching efforts, like those of all teachers, have the potential to extend her influence in a variety of ways.
Reed tells about one of her ancestors whose impact went far beyond what she would have imagined. “My great, great grandmother Angelina Harrison and her husband lived in London, England, and the missionaries lived with them in their home. Karl G. Maeser, as well as others like James Talmage, stayed with them in this home. Angelina helped prepare Maeser for his mission by teaching him to read English. This [experience] teaches me that ‘by small and simple things are great things brought to pass’ (Alma 37:6).”
Maeser was the first principal of Brigham Young Academy, which later became Brigham Young University. He held this position for approximately 16 years; his intelligence, knowledge, values, personality and spirituality have become legendary. By teaching Maeser English at the time she did, Harrison contributed to the course of his life and influence. She did not know at the time that her actions would make this kind of contribution.
Similarly, Reed tells us about how the McKay School has had an impact on her. “The McKay school has given me many opportunities to learn through fine teachers and their examples.” She specifically recalls a particular lecture from the Power of Teaching series, sponsored by the McKay School of Education, that made a significant impact in her life. This series “has had a big influence in showing me the kind of teacher I want to become,” she said. She continued:
The one taught by Brad Wilcox about how his mother, a second grade teacher, helped Tom Holdman, [who became] a stained glass window designer, to see his . . . gifts in art [despite] his stuttering problems. This led him to his unique way of teaching through his windows. He was being made fun of, but she gave him a way to have dignity and enthusiasm for life. Sister Wilcox [was] the kind of teacher I want to be, and her example was so uplifting to me [particularly] how she uplifted her students.
The inspiration Lorna drew from this lecture has helped shape the kind of teacher she would like to become. Undoubtedly, she will demonstrate a similar influence on the children she teaches when she completes her teaching certificate.