Doug Creamer column: Teacher and student

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 26, 2022

By Doug Creamer

I find myself in an interesting position. I am both a teacher and a student. I am teaching part-time at the community college, and I have just enrolled in a course where I am a student. The course is designed to improve my skills as a teacher. It is an online course which will require me to read, watch videos, and to write about the learning process.

One of the first assignments was to write about a time when I had learned something. I found the answer right in front of me. Many years ago, I went to see my best friend, who had retired and taken up wood turning. To turn wood, you place a block on a lathe which spins and then you use tools to create a bowl or other symmetrical object.

My friend determined that he would teach me how to turn wood. We put our first block of wood on the lathe and he demonstrated how to use the tools. Then he got me to use those tools and work on our piece of wood. My friend did some of the fine finishing work and then we used a tool to cut the bowl away from the block.

As it turns out, we created a funnel instead of a bowl. We had cut away too much out of the center of the block so when we cut it away it left a hole in the bottom. We laughed. That funnel/bowl sits right here on my desk. My friend put another piece of wood on the lathe. This time he made me do all the work. We were careful not to go too deep in the bowl this time.

My friend had placed a very special piece of wood called a burl on the lathe for us to work on this time. A burl is a highly sought-after piece of wood because it will create a stunning piece of artwork. It was just a piece of wood to me. We worked on it until I had to head for home. The next day he finished it, sanded and sealed it, and carved our names in the bottom.

My friend mailed me our bowl, which sits near my computer. My friend sent me a note that sits with the bowl which reads, “Sometimes the value of an object can be determined by its uniqueness. This is pretty unique.” The bowl is a beautiful, completely unique piece that I treasure.

This reminds me of the unique and wonderful opportunity I have every day as a teacher. When I show or teach something to someone it gives me great joy as a teacher. I love being a teacher. I love helping someone acquire new skills or knowledge. I don’t do it for the paycheck, although it does help to pay the bills. I do it for the joy of watching someone spread their wings and fly.

In the last week, I had the privilege of seeing a couple of students achieve success in the program I am teaching at the community college. One of the students was one of mine, and she had worked very hard to apply herself to the subject material. When she succeeded, my supervisor and I celebrated with her. We were so excited and happy for her. The other student I met today while she was waiting for her results. When she found out she succeeded, my supervisor and I celebrated with her, too. To see the great joy on these students’ faces is far greater than any paycheck I could ever earn. They worked hard and earned their success.

Our Christian walk will end with what we hope will be a similar celebration. God gives us his word, which is filled with many challenging lessons. If we apply these lessons to our lives, it will help us have a successful trip through life. We’ll have some good times and go through some rough patches. If we stick with it and continue to apply ourselves to what we have learned then we will hear these words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Come and enter your master’s rest.”

I want to encourage you to press on in your Christian walk. Don’t quit! There is a great reward waiting for those who believe and persevere. God is preparing a wonderful celebration for each person who endures to the end. We are living in challenging times. Don’t give up on God; instead, run to him. We don’t need to understand what is happening, but only to trust him. I want to see you there, so let’s encourage each other and press on until that great day.

Contact Doug Creamer at PO Box 777, Faith, NC 28041 or

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