Disappointment can be such a bummer! I used to deal with it as a child every time our family planned a vacation to visit relatives in the Ozarks. I lived for those breaks that would allow me to escape from the city life and spend countless hours enjoying the many adventures that awaited my cousins and me roaming the woods and trails. Just before we loaded the car with our luggage, the phone would ring and my father would inform us that the trip was off because he contracted for another trip as a truck driver. Once in a while, we would get a shortened version of the promised two-week vacation. The disappointments I felt seemed like the end of the world!
As I look back over my life, I feel the greatest disappointments I have experienced have actually involved students I have taught in my classrooms. Every teacher, I feel, has high expectations for the students they teach. Yet, in spite of all we try to do, we watch some of our students make unwise life choices. I am sorry to say that I have seen students who have become addicts, felons, and even one accused of shooting another person. There are over a dozen of my former students who are already buried in cemeteries somewhere.
It has become apparent to me that the paths and choices some students make follow a pattern that leads to destruction. I recognize those paths, and I do all I can to put up warning signs. Yet, I know the disappointment of watching another student choose those same routes. It is such a common theme that I recognize it in famous stories and even in Jesus’ teachings about the broad road that leads to death. It seems that the narrow road that is harder but which leads to life is filled with life’s challenges and hardships. I guess it is that difficult climb that makes people stronger and more fulfilled in their lives.
Because I have known the pain of disappointment, I try my best not to disappoint others who are looking to me. At the end of each day, I review what I have done and weigh its worth and ask myself, “Will it matter that Kay Johnson lived today?” If I have not made a positive difference, I ask God to guide me the next day to do better. Thus, I have a mission for my daily life which I enjoy very much: preparing students to become a positive contributing member of society.