Changing of the Guard

Twilight Zone turned 50 years old last week. I happened to see an episode they had on to celebrate. It was one I had never seen in all the reruns and marathons.

Changing of the Guard is about a teacher at a boys’ school. He’d been there forever (now teaching the grandson of one of his students). He received a letter that he thought was a contract for the next year. It was a letter retiring him.

He spent hours looking through old year books – at the boys that had so much promise but died in wars. Had all his years of teaching done any good? Why had he spent his life that way? He was about to commit suicide, but a class bell rang.

Habit being what it is, he went to his classroom. It was full of boys.

They were the ghosts of those students who died in the various wars (it was Twilight Zone after all). Each one, in turn, recited something that he had learned in class. Something that gave him the courage to do the acts of heroism he died for. Teaching is not wasted.

We may not all be teachers in the classroom sense. But most of us have a teaching role with someone we know. Moms teach. Dads teach. Even friends teach sometimes.

We may hear thank yous as we go along. Or it may be a long time—maybe not ’til heaven. But never doubt that your teaching matters. The smallest thing may turn out to have the greatest impact on another’s life. It may not even be words, but actions.

Just continue. Continue to be faithful. To be loving. To be kind. Who knows what might stick!

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