Faith Through Service
by Paul Taylor
For as long as I can remember I knew that I wanted to be a teacher. The typical classroom exercise of being asked, “what do you want to be when you grow up?”, usually consisted of my friends saying astronaut, movie star, or famous athlete. As they would say that, I would say teacher every time. When I got to high school I would get the question from friends and classmates, “Why be a teacher, when you’re smart enough to go into some [insert high paying career option here]?” I’ve never truly thought about the answer to that question until very recently.
I am a true believer that teaching is a vocation. I can thank my wife, Stephanie, for that. She shares that same belief. She is a teacher for all the right reasons. She teaches at a private Christian school and shows nothing but compassion for her students, regardless of the scenario they find themselves in. I know this is supposed to be about my story of life and faith, however, I wouldn’t be me, if it wasn’t for Stephanie. But she’s not the only one.
My mom instilled in me, and my two younger brothers, the importance of volunteering. I got my start volunteering for the Catholic Youth Organization at St. Patrick’s Elementary School, in the year 2002. That was where 3 hours a week of volunteering in grade 5, turned into 12-15 hours per week in high school, culminating with 2000 Christian Service Hours upon my graduation from Cathedral High School. For me, it was never about how many hours could I get. It was about giving back. Knowing that I was there and the kids had the chance to play sports was enough to keep me wanting to volunteer.
Now it has come full circle. I’m a teacher at my alma mater, Cathedral. I am able to give back to my students the way my teachers gave back to me. I am able to coach basketball at the school I played at. Now it’s my turn to give back to my players the way my coaches helped me out. I’m back at St. Patrick’s giving back to our community, through my role within De Mazenod Door Outreach.
So, to answer that question I was asked back in high school; I am teacher because of my faith. My faith is rooted in the question, what can I do for others? Whether it be helping a student solve a tricky math question, or helping a player perfect their jump shot, I want to give back. Teaching is that true vocation where you have the opportunity to make an impact every minute of every day. If I am able to make a difference in at least one young person’s life, I would consider it a success.
As the old hymn goes, “We are Made for Service.” Actions truly speak louder than words. Even louder than the words of a hymn sung at churches throughout the world.