Originally posted on Facebook on January 6, 2011:
The critic has to educate the public; the artist has to educate the critic.
~ Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900)
ON CHRISTMAS Day, 2010, I was busy preoccupying myself by randomly surfing the Internet that evening until a particular link instantaneously caught my eye on Yahoo: Mr. Richards had just finished writing another column just in time for the Christmas season, and he appropriately titles this particular one The Greatest Teacher?
Now, why The Greatest Teacher?, you may ask? Well, he certainly isn’t writing about himself as the world’s greatest teacher, that’s for sure, since I’m pretty sure to him that would sound a bit too self-conceited to even say. But no, he isn’t writing about himself as the world’s greatest teacher. He’s writing about Jesus Christ.
Now, whether you are a Christian believer or not, I’m pretty sure that nearly everyone on this planet Earth (that’s right; nearly all 6 billion of us humans) at least respects Jesus in some way as a great healer, teacher, Rabbi, and carpenter. We all can at least say this without trying to dispute the common orthodox beliefs and messages that were either said by Jesus Christ Himself, recorded in the Gospel accounts of the New Testament of the Bible, or portrayed through Christian films like The Passion of the Christ and spoken about in various sermons by pastors everywhere across the globe.
But going back to the teacher lesson here, why do we even call Christ “the world’s greatest teacher”? Why do we even attribute this specific label to only Him? This certainly is a mind-boggling question indeed, and I’m almost certain that it could baffle even the most skeptical people out there. But still the same question remains. Why Jesus Christ?
My answer, in both secular, academic terms, as well as devoutly spiritual terms, is quite simple. Jesus Christ basically said who He really was multiple times as stated in the Gospel accounts, but only a very few really understood what He meant. Who were these few? The answer would be the twelve men that He called to be His most beloved disciples.
These disciples, in everyday terms, were Jesus’ companions, a bunch of men that He regarded to be His best buds, and He surrounded Himself with these men, and He became their teacher, their Rabbi, and they were his “students”; in fact, His only students in the whole wide world.
Now, back in the olden days, there were no such things as classrooms. Classrooms did not even exist in 1st century Palestine. But Jesus did take His disciples, his students on many field trips throughout the area: to mountaintops, to the Sea of Galilee, to Jerusalem, to the Temple in Jerusalem, to the Jordan River, to the Garden of Gethsemane, to the wilderness etc. Nearly everywhere that Jesus went, His disciples would humbly tag along and learn many life lessons from this man.
Now from my perspective, I consider Him to be the Henry David Thoreau of his day, since He seemed to love nature and He traveled constantly around the areas that now comprise the modern state of Israel, and in addition, Christ constantly spoke of an unconditional love that could only come from the Father, and that this kind of love should be practiced among men, among people; hence the whole “Love thy neighbor as thyself” sort of deal, especially with His famous “Love your enemies and pray for those that persecute you” line (Matthew 5:44).
Now, just from this one line alone, most people would think of Christ as a very loving guy, and He was in most cases. Of course, we should remember that He didn’t just speak of love and faith and just let that be. He also showed it to other people too through His actions, like rescuing Peter when Jesus walked on the Sea of Galilee or feeding the five thousand men who had gathered to hear Him speak or even raising Lazarus from the grave.
His actions conveyed that He had faith, love and hope, and He hoped and prayed that other people could learn this lesson as well.
This was the greatest accomplishment of Christ Jesus: to teach people to love and to hope and seek for salvation, and with it, a brighter future. Now I also believe that Mr. Richards here as a teacher has planned (from the very first day he became one) and continues to plan to do just this: to give some hope and love to all of his students so that they in turn could do the same to him. Mr. Richards’ actions have also proven and inspired me to be a better person as well and that in order to seek a more optimistic future, I must try all that I can to make my dreams a reality, and that in addition, he has a very passionate faith that helps to keep him going and going and going continuously, and best of all, he really doesn’t let anything try to get in his way and stop him from doing what he just loves to do. That’s the best quality that I love about him, really.
He helps to motivate me in ways that I never thought I could, and yet, here I am, making great strides today as a senior in high school to be the best that I can be as one of his students and as a great person in general, and I believe that many of you guys out there also firmly believe in this as well.
My firm philosophical point here: In order to be a great teacher and a great person as Mr. Richards is today, one must have a good, humble heart and a humble soul, and this goodness will eventually appear through one’s actions that he or she is loving, caring and kind, and then little by little, other people will start to notice and appreciate your humble heart and soul for being that Good Samaritan type of person and just showing your unfaltering support for them.
Despite what the world may tell you, one moral always stands the test of time: love always wins (as stated in the Golden Rule). If this is the case, there must be a reason why it’s even called the “Golden Rule” in the first place because it always rings true to all types of people no matter who are you or where you’re from, and Mr. Richards has certainly got this rule down, really down.
Now, the final question is, do we, his students, have this rule memorized in our hearts? I firmly believe that we should, and I thank Mr. Richards for reteaching me this lesson as well.
As my last wish, I wish you an AWESOME HAPPY BIRTHDAY TODAY JAIME! You really are one of my many living and breathing role models, not only as a teacher but also as a great guy as well (and now with over 55 years of life experience under your belt too)! Although I don’t think that I’m the only student that thinks this.
The truth is, we all love you and we all thank you for the kind of teacher that you are. I can see that you definitely live by Christ’s moral example, and well, I am also grateful that you do.
Have an awesome day today and celebrate A LOT! YOU DESERVE IT! 😀
~ A Fellow Columnist, Josh Chen.
P.S. Live by Christ’s moral example: http://www.insidebayarea.com/jaime-richards/ci_16924750 (and God bless you)!