The third most beautiful noun in the English language is "teacher." This truth best illustrated out of the mouth of a Kindergarten child.
Of course the most beautiful such word, out of the mouth of child or adult, is "mother." And, at least I would like to think, second place goes to "daddy."
This, though, is about a teacher.
Those in Brazil who remember our youngest, Benjamin William Lewis (aka "Benji," aka "the Hammer"), might justifiably assume no good thing comes out of those darn skateboarders. Occasionally I will run into one of his Northview teachers (they all seem to remember him), and each is equally amazed when told how Benji "turned out."
The hardest year for a man is 19. All of our sons drifted at about this time trying to find their direction. Benji was perhaps the driftiest (is there such a word?).
He went forth with great ceremony to Evansville University to major in Art and minor in skateboard. The minor dominated and he returned to try ISU, now majoring in skateboard. His good friend Chris Newgent got him turned on to Ball State University (where apparently everyone sends their kids). Not sure which he found first, himself or Lisa; but he would never have found the former without the latter.
It was about this time he said something which made me the proudest and most dumbfounded father on earth -- he had decided to become a grade-school teacher. He said it was because he discovered how few children had a good father image. He had had such an image, and wanted other children to know what that was like.
Since graduating (finally!) from Ball State he and Lisa have been teachers in a "disadvantaged" area of Charlotte N.C. From all reports he is an exceptional teacher, though I still don't see him as "Mr. Lewis." We think he is so good at it because there is no problem a parent can face pushing and shoving their kid through school that we didn't face with Benj. None of his students can get away with anything, because he already tried it at that age.
On March 20, 2012, Benjamin became a first-time father, Parker Michael Lewis, 7 pounds, 7 ounces, 21-inches. (For those keeping score at home our 12th grandchild, accompanied by two great-grandchildren, as they keep rolling in.) I told him daddies know everything, and now that he is a daddy he knows everything. At least he knows as much as I did when my firstborn came into the world -- almost nothing. Having been a fifth grade teacher might help, but I seriously doubt it. The child, it seems, becomes the ultimate teacher of us all. Truth is, by the time you figure out how to rear those darn brats they're grown and gone and have succeeded in spite of your efforts.
Maybe I was wrong. Benji may yet find out the most beautiful noun in the English language is actually "Daddy." It is when he says it to me.