Yesterday I went to the funeral home visitation for my friend John Mijatovich, whose work as an artist and teacher will continue, like ripples in the water, though he himself has now gone. That evening I watched the documentary Follow My Voice, that details, among other things, the impact a school environment can have on a student’s well-being and ability to learn.

And as I watched, I thought about what a teacher means to a student, how the best teachers say – with their behavior; with their philosophy; with their substance not only as educators but as human beings – “Follow my voice.” I’ll go on ahead – not a lot, not so far that all I am is a dot on the horizon – but far enough that you’ll have to struggle a bit, work a bit, to keep up: to follow. And that work and struggle will be your education: what you wanted, how you aimed to get there, how knowledge and desire aided you along the path. I did not take you there: you took yourself, but you knew that you had a voice to follow, that you were never alone on the path.

And it is not only as a student that you follow, but as a person. What you learn becomes part of who you are, informs the greater education of the heart. John knew that. The best teachers always do.

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