Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper—it only leads to harm. For the wicked will be destroyed, but those who trust in the Lord will possess the land. - Psalm 37:8-9 (NLT)
Ms. Hutchinson was my homeroom English teacher from grade seven to grade nine. She stands a demure 4’11”, wears spectacles and is quite soft-spoken. When she walks into a room, no heads turn. There is nothing at all intimidating about her presence or her demeanor. You’ll likely not find her leading any kind of protest or vociferously espousing any campaign.
Yet, for the past sixty years and counting, Ms. Hutchinson has been one of the most effective warriors for quality public education in our nation.
She doesn’t fight with protests and press conferences.
She fights by proving that when school resources and broader community resources are invested adequately, even children in the ghetto can excel academically.
She fights by non-abrasively advocating for pedagogical means that measure critical thinking capacity, not just test-taking proficiency.
She fights by being relentless in her efforts to instill within each of her students a sense of self-esteem and self-respect. She fights by personally inviting the parents of her students to take seriously their roles as partners and mentors in the educational development of their children.
There is need for change and reform in so many areas of our nation’s collective life. Do we need mavericks adamantly pushing for reform on the front lines? I think so.
But we also need fighters who understand the strength of inobtrusive perseverance. We also need warriors who face impossible odds every day, but who still fight to make progress—quietly but impactfully.
Lord help us to not see meekness as weakness, but as the qualifier you have set for the earth’s inheritance. Amen.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.