My cell phone started to buzz. It was a number that I didn’t recognize, so I ignored it. The phone buzzed again. It was the same number. Whoever was calling was persistent. Reluctantly, I answered, “Hello?” 

“Hello, I’m Dr. Jackson, calling from Centennial Hills Hospital in Las Vegas, Nevada. Your mom had a stroke and is in critical condition. I believe you are the next of kin.” I don’t remember much of what he said after those words. My mind was swirling, thinking about a reality where my mom would not be present, as I came to grips with the gravity of what was happening. After the call ended, I booked the next flight to Las Vegas. 

Arriving at the hospital, I was confronted by the reality of my mom’s condition. The stroke had left her paralyzed and barely capable of forming words. Over the following weeks, her condition greatly deteriorated. I was devastated and frustrated that I couldn’t do anything to heal her. My sweet mom soon passed away, and it felt like the world that I knew was gone. 

Although my life felt like it had stopped, the world around me had continued to go on. Despite grieving, I found solace in throwing myself into my education. I found comfort in character-building discussions about applying the gospel to our professional and personal lives. One professor, in particular, transcended mere instruction, exemplifying the principles of character through his actions. 

One poignant moment stood out amidst the haze of grief. One day, I heard a knocking on my front door. I wasn’t in the mood for company, so my husband answered the door. From another room, I heard voices and then a call to come join them. It was one of my professors and his wife with a bouquet of flowers and a note. They had heard of my mom’s passing and wanted to extend their condolences. Their genuine compassion and empathy left an impression, serving as a guiding light in the darkest of times. After they left, I remember thinking of how their examples in this one moment would shape my character for a lifetime. Aristotle observed, “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” 

Jesus Christ, the Master Educator, taught truths and knowledge that not only shaped our minds but also our hearts and characters. His teachings transcended mere instruction. He wasn’t just a rabbi, He modeled and embodied what we should all become. He taught about compassion, empathy, and love through His words and deeds, inviting us to come and follow Him.

In conclusion, true education transcends mere instruction and embodies the cultivation of character. As future educators, it becomes crucial to understand that our deeds, and not words alone, shape the characters of those within the reach of our sphere.