Cancer is a Great Teacher

Those who know me know I love and honor young people.  I am a wife, a mother,  a teacher, a former principal, and a district administrator.  I have also had many opportunities to teach various groups in different church settings.

Many years ago, I was asked to teach a group of three-year-olds each Sunday.  Let’s just say, this opportunity came with a required weekly nap.  The group was very busy!  One activity that seemed to harness their energy was singing time.  I was grateful that one of our favorite songs was particularly calming.  We would gather on the floor and sing the following:

Whenever I hear the song of a bird or look at the blue, blue sky,  Whenever I feel the rain on my face or the wind as it rushes by, Whenever I touch a velvet rose or walk by a lilac tree, I’m glad that I live in this beautiful world, Heavenly Father created for me.

I can still see my young friends wiggling their fingers to depict rain or gently reaching out to touch a velvet rose as they sang the words together.  Earlier today, I heard this beautiful song performed by a magnificent choir.  The music took me back to days on the floor with my three-year-old friends.

It has been said, “We never know which lives we influence, or when, or why.”  This truth was reinforced during a recent visit from a dear friend.  It was such a treat to see her — we spent several minutes reminiscing about our experiences together.  We became friends during the time I was teaching my busy three-year-olds.  In fact, one of my former students is her daughter.  As she prepared to leave, we reflected on the light that women share with each other.  Women lift those close to them to higher ground as we speak kindly, love without judgment, demonstrate an example of genuine concern, and testify of truth.  My sweet friend shared that she looked to me for an example of how to navigate the next stage of life.  I was humbled by her confidence and recognized that I had not been aware of my influence in her life.  It was a tender conversation.  We both taught important truths that day.

As our visit ended, I carefully opened gifts and cards my friend had delivered.  To my delight, I found  two get well cards from those who were part of the three-year-old group.  They are now approaching eleven or twelve.  Their messages were simple.  The first card read, “Hello!  Remember me?  You were my teacher.  I hope you get better.  Anyway, have a good day!”  down below he signed his name with “Let’s dance!”  The second message stated, “I hope you feel better soon and you were a great teacher” with several hearts floating in the margins.  Well, both messages brought great joy!  I think I will accept the dance invitation.

Two simple messages that teach volumes.  Young people remember how they feel as well as what they learn.  We teach young and old without recognizing our example might be the greatest teacher.  Simple gestures bring great joy to others.  We find joy as we focus on our most important relationships.

Cancer has enabled me to be a seeker of truth and has become one of my greatest teachers.  I learn truth each day.  Throughout the journey, I experience joy as I recognize there are many who bless my life.  We learn from each other as we serve each other.  Russell M. Nelson taught, “The joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our life and everything to do with the focus of our lives.”  I choose to focus on important relationships with the Savior, my family, dear friends, and the joy found through teaching and testifying.

Round five of chemotherapy is scheduled for this upcoming Friday.  I look forward to lessons that will be taught.



One thought on “Cancer is a Great Teacher

  1. Teri you continue to be an inspiration and a teacher with “heart.” I am sorrowful that you are going through this but know you have taken this experience on with a quest to learn so that you might grow yourself and understand a new facet of life, so that you might help others along their way. May Round 5 be successful in restoring you to health. Sending prayers and positive energy your way. You have many cheerleaders in your corner.


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