Miss Cindy

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From the moment I was first introduced to my first grade religious teacher I knew there was something special about her. Her name was Mrs. S. or Miss Cindy as her students would call her. She greeted me with the warmest hug. She talked, smiled, and laughed, naturally, never forced. I would always look forward to her story time. Cindy would act out a story using props, colorful costumes, music, and at times, unusual, but entertaining voices. She believed her students deserved more than the typical curriculum. As I began to grow from year to year, Cindy also grew with me. She became more than just my first grade religious school teacher, but a teacher for my personal questions. When Cindy was diagnosed with terminal cancer, she taught me more about life than I thought possible. She taught me strength and courage. When I went to see her for the last time she told me, “Please do not be afraid. I want you to live your life to the fullest everyday, and you will always make me proud.” I lost a friend, a role model, a hero, and most importantly, an inspiring teacher. Cindy is no longer with me, although I can always learn something important from every teacher.

Many times actions speak louder than words. For several teachers this is their way of teaching. I like to classify this teacher as the quiet teacher. The quiet teacher is able to convey more information by the actions which they take, opposed to the verbal lessons which they teach. My father is my quiet teacher. When I was younger I remember watching him repair a leaking faucet, or build a model car that I insisted on buying. As I would watch my father I learned more than how to build a model car, but I learned concentration, and dedication. I would never want to finish a project that I started, but as I watched my father he was always determined to finish a project, whether it took one hour or an entire day. I was always eager to show him that “A”, which I received on a test. I wanted him to know that he guided me to that “A” because he taught me that dedication and hard work pays off. In elementary school, my teachers would ask my class, who our heroes are. I along with several of my other classmates would quickly respond by saying my mother or father. At the time I knew that they were my heroes, but never knew exactly why. Now I realize that my father is my hero because of what he has taught me over the years. He has quietly taught me to follow in his footsteps to be successful in life. When my father was younger he had to teach everything to himself. He had no quiet teachers to show him how to be successful in life. That is why I try to take advantage of everything he has to show me. Even though at the time I may not agree with him, I know his knowledge and success will become my knowledge and success. In the Mystery of Brahman Varuna Varuni teaches his son, Bhrigu Varuni, a great deal without showing him much. Each time Bhrigu comes back to his father he asks, “Father, explain further to me the mystery of Brahman.”(163). Varuni would only guide Bhrigu to find the answer in order for him to learn much more. Sometimes the quieter the teacher is, the more I am able to learn.

For some people it is easier to express themselves verbally. I have had many teachers that are easier to learn from when they are more verbal. I call this type of teacher the vocal teacher. The vocal teacher’s words convey a larger message than their actions. When speaking, the vocal teacher is like a walking book of inspirational quotes. My mother is my vocal teacher. Though at times I may not admit it, everything my mother has said to me has taught me everything that I know today. Whether it is her encouraging words to keep running in a cross country race or our serious conversations that leave me with a better understanding of myself, my mother teaches always me something. My mother has taught me to express myself vocally and to have my voice heard. As long as I can remember she has never been afraid to express her feelings. Observing my mother stand up for her beliefs and voicing her opinion, has taught me to not hold back what is trapped inside. I have learned that holding back my feelings can hold me back in life life. In the Yoga of Knowledge Sri Krishna teaches Arjuna how he can identify a man who is absorbed in Brahman. “Forget experience, you lose discrimination; lose discrimination, and you miss life’s only purpose”. (179). Sri Krishna teaching Arjuna that without experiencing new things, he will only miss out on what is most important. My mother repeatedly teaches me this lesson. She encourages me to try new activities, to experience as much as I can in order to learn more about myself. She says she may not be happy with a decision I make, but she will always support me. An anonymous inspirational writer writes, “If your voice can be heard someone is listening.”

Often times the most important kind of teacher is overlooked. I am my own teacher. I am able to teach myself more than most other people can. I am probably the best teacher for me. Sometimes I am surprised by the advice that I am able to give myself. It is almost as if I already have everything that I ever need to know stored away somewhere. Then until I need an answer that information comes out of hiding. What I teach myself may not always be wise. If I decide to hang out with my friends instead of working on a project that is due in two days, I am teaching myself that it is okay to put off important tasks. However; when I receive a poor grade on the project I learn from my poor decision. Whether I teach myself something wise, or irrational, I am constantly learning. Siddhartha considers himself to be his best teacher. He believes that his experiences can teach him more than someone else’s experiences. Siddhartha believed that teachers could no longer educate him, “There is one thing that this clear, worthy instruction does not contain; it does not contain the secret of what the Illustrious One himself experienced—he alone among hundreds of thousands.”(34). Teachers can preach about something from their own experience, but it is my own experiences that teach me the most. When applying for college everyone will go through the same steps and similar process, but it will be my own personal experience that will set me apart from everyone else. Everyday I am learning in order to grow with each new experience.

Although physically I lost my greatest role model, mentally I am still learning from Cindy. Cindy left a legacy to those she taught. She left an imprint that there is no limit to learning. Everyday I strive to learn everything I can. Whether it is the quiet teacher, the vocal teacher, or myself; I am always able to learn. Many times people say that with every death there is a new life, and with that new life comes new knowledge to pass on to others.





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