Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Why I Teach

Last night was not the usual weeknight at my place. But that was a good thing.

Two recent graduates--Diana Rozendaal and Andrea Docherty--returned to campus on Monday. Both were very active in human rights work while at Pepperdine and so were near and dear to my heart. They know each other well, but the timing of their return to Malibu was coincidental, so I decided to invite them to dinner last night so they could visit with each other and I could visit with both of them. I also decided to invite three kindred spirits just a month away from graduation--Melissa Mayes, Ben Young, and Heidi Laki--to join us. So, sitting around my table last night--with a vegan meal that Stephen and I prepared in spite of our own fondness for meat--were five extraordinary young people: one just back from doing medical work in Kazakhstan, one on a college tour on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, one planning to marry this summer and work for Upward Bound in Colorado, one keeping fingers crossed about a pending application to work in the developing world with Samaritan's Purse, and one heading for the Republic of Georgia to work with the Peace Corps. It was an inspiring evening for me and, I think, for my 15-year-old son as well.

And that's an important part of why I teach: It's not so much to inspire (although it's nice when I can do that) as it is to be inspired. Last night I was inspired.