Like many of my peers in the 1960s, I wanted to change our world for the better. I wanted to leave my mark and do great things. But it didn't turn out the way I expected. Instead of making me a leader and famous author, God morphed me into a music teacher.
Teachers in general, and especially teachers in the arts fields, are often seen as superfluous in our culture. Something nice to have, if the school can afford it, but usually the first thing cut when budgets are tight. The result for me has been a marginal income and very few "benefits" as the world describes them.
But for me personally, the benefits have been awesome, even though in our culture they aren't often recognized. I am not a greatly talented musician. My dad said I couldn't carry a tune in a bucket. I taught myself to play guitar so I could sing on key and not stray off from the correct tune. I worked hard to gain the skills that came naturally to many of my friends and relatives. All my life I'd wanted to learn to play piano, and I finally got to take formal lessons after age 30.
I was completely surprised when my piano teacher, Kaye, urged me to teach some beginning piano students she couldn't fit into her schedule. She told me I didn't have to be a virtuoso to teach, that it was a different set of skills, and she saw them in me. What a wonderful door she opened for me!
Here I am 30 years later, still teaching and enjoying the interaction with each and every student. I love the opportunity to focus on each one's particular interests and learning styles. They are all unique. I also enjoy the relationships that are built as I share my love of music with them.
I have been blessed to have touched so many young lives--I lost count at 300. But the biggest blessing has been to be touched by them. I am still in touch with some of my former students via social media (It's not all bad.) They knew me when they were children, and now some of them are married and having children of their own. Some of them are even music teachers who can now play much better than I do.
I'm touched and humbled to have been given this opportunity to teach. Now I see that it was a calling from God, a ministry he had planned for me. What natural talents I lacked, he provided, in order that he might have the glory, not me.
A meaningful life? Perhaps not in the eyes of the world. But it has been precious, indeed!