I remember it clearly: German class was about to start and Mr. Ter Haar was walking down the hallway. His room was at one end of the building and the teacher’s lounge at the other. As we waited for him, there was plenty of time for the class instigator to do his work. While his friends kept watch from the door, Dave commandeered the chalk and in large block letters wrote: Apathy Now!!
As Dave slid innocently into his seat, Mr. Ter Haar strode in and took in the message. Wow, did the guy explode!! I bet more than half the class didn’t know what apathy meant but boy did we get an idea. I looked up the word later and understood why the teacher’s face got red and the veins on his neck became quite pronounced. What he said, I don’t remember but the passion behind his words were indelible.
Now, as a teacher myself, I’ve had a few kids express apathy about the subject that I love. I get it – not everyone has to get as excited as I do about English. But one thing I insist on is at least being open to learning. Helen Keller said that as soon as she learned the connection between words and her world, invisible lines stretched between [her] spirit and and the spirits of others. Some of my students would roll their eyes at that, but think about it – when we care, we’re linked to so much more than just what our minds can conceive on their own. As our knowledge grows, our fields of inquiry broadens and our curiosity is rewarded.
But more than that cerebral stuff is my firm belief that God’s world is so interesting, so intricate, so involved that it’s just rude to tell Him in any way that we’re not willing to learn anything more about what He’s made. There’s a reason that older people say the more they grow, the less they know. We can’t even begin to scratch the surface of what’s knowable and that leaves in me in awe of my Creator.
So I’ll continue to learn about myself, read as many books as time and wakefulness allow, and be curious about the interests of others. Currently I know someone who traps for furs, someone who is an old truck conossiuer and another who plays rugby. I know precious little about any of those subjects, but I love the people and I love the One who never runs out of something to surprise and amaze me. Apathy? Seriously? Who has time? Mr. Ter Haar, I’ve forgotten much of the German you’ve taught me but your nemesis Dave was a co-conspirator in teaching me one of my greatest lessons. Danke Schon!