Teachers as Heroes

by Mr. Justin Brownfield, Elementary Teacher

I want to be just like…  A look at the heroes of my life

“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”  These are the words of Paul when he wrote to the church at Corinth.

God’s Word clearly shows believers that we must “make it our ambition, whether at home or absent to be pleasing to Him.”  But, do you ever find yourself asking, “What does that really look like?  What does it look like to ‘be pleasing to Him’?”  I suggest the following: Christians often learn how to do right by looking at the examples of other Christians.

When I look back at the six years I spent attending Faith Christian School, I can’t help but find myself overwhelmed with gratitude for the example its teachers gave me.  Two of my teachers from those years have provided me with such a clear example of what it looks like to “be Christ.”

My two biggest heroes: Jack Heim and Marilou Sutherland

Jack Heim was my music teacher while I attended FCS.  He taught my band and choir classes.  He was the director of the Faith Ministry Team was my Bible class teacher.  He is the man that I received trombone lessons from in seventh grade.   Marilou taught my drama and speech classes.  She is the one who helped me know that it is incorrect to finish a sentence with a preposition.  She is the one who helped me love musicals.

However, the things that I remember most about Jack Heim and Marilou Sutherland are not necessarily the fun musical pieces, the exciting drama class activities, or even their ability as teachers.  I remember that Jack Heim was the man who wanted to know about my family.  He was the one who asked me what it looked like to make God a priority in my family.  He was the man who cheered for me and patted me on the back when I succeeded.  Marilou was the person from whom I could always count on getting a smile.  Marilou always had time to be updated on my life.  Neither gave up on me.

Jack Heim is the person that I remember when I hear phrases like “unconditional love” and “faithful dedication.”  Marilou is whom I recall when phrases like “patience” and “gentleness” are spoken.  I’m sure I rarely told either, but I watched them live and desire to be like Christ.  They helped me understand God.  Both were a picture of Christ’s love. Their lives both speak as reminders of the gospel.  God’s wrath was on us, but God made a way for us to escape this punishment.  God sent His son, Jesus.  Jesus lived a life of faithful dedication to God. God’s unconditional love was presented to us in the cross of Christ.  The cross is evidence of a Holy Father characterized by patience and gentleness.

In the presence of a hero

On Friday, December 16, I was passing out an English Test and going over directions with my fifth graders.  As I was speaking, my door opened.  There stood Mr. Grass and Jack Heim.  Jack now lives in North Carolina, but had come to visit Indiana for the weekend.  I had no idea he was in town.  What did I do?  I did the same thing every person should do when they see their hero: I was overcome with emotion and fought back tears of joy.  I was flooded with the reminders of all the ways this man had shown Christ’s love to me.

I praise God for the way He has chosen to show His love to me through the lives of his servants.  Paul was able to tell the church at Corinth to “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”  I praise God for the way that Jack and Marilou have been this to me.


Jonathan Lambeth