When I was in High School, I was withdrawn and isolated. I had one friend … one. I thought I was no good as a person and that I had very little to offer anybody. I had never gotten in trouble with the law. In fact, I was a believer in Christ at this age. But I could not shake the firm belief that I was simply no good, despite what I learned at church about God’s love for me. I did not see a future for myself in any regard.
I attended a local public High School in South County. I was one of thousands of students. And I figured nobody noticed me … until one day, early on in the fall semester of my sophomore year, my English teacher approached me after class and asked me to stay for a few minutes.
I thought I was in trouble for some reason. Quite the opposite.
He had me sit down and asked me how I was doing.
“Fine,” I said.
“No,” he said. “Tell me the truth. How are doing? Not in school, but now.”
And I cried. I was crying for the first time in years. These were not mere sniffles. My teacher let me cry. And my teacher hugged me. Then we went to the guidance counselor, who happened to be a Christian, and I sat with him and my teacher, missing the next period of class for the day. I felt uncomfortable, and I was not sure what they wanted from me.
The guidance counselor, Dr. K, set a sheet of paper in front of me and asked me if these qualities could describe how I felt about myself at the present time.
I read the first statement: “I judge myself without mercy.”
I read the second statement: “I overreact to changes for which I have no control.”
All. The. Time.
I continued to read the third statement: “I constantly seek approval and affirmation.”
How did these two men know me so well?
Dr. K explained the mystery to me. These are the qualities that a child who grows up in an alcoholic family displays. I thought of my Dad. The pieces began to come together for me.
I sat and thought of what Dr. K told me, and he could see the question forming in my mind before I even asked it.
“No,” he said. “It is not your fault.”
“None of it is my fault?”
“None of it,” Dr. K said.
I started going to a group to talk about my experiences, joined by my Mom, who supported me. And after some time, I found mercy for myself.
They sought me out. They found me. This is deep impact. This is why I love teaching young people. It is not my burden, but it is a debt that I still owe to my mentors, my teachers, my pastors, and my Mom — my heroes who loved me and moved me from the dark to the light.
Will Tincher teaches English at SVC High School. He has nine years’ experience teaching students at the collegiate, high school, and junior high levels, holding a Master’s degree from Wichita State University. He chooses to work at a Christian school because he has a heart to care for the full development of a student. “I believe a student’s development cannot be compartmentalized or limited to ‘branches’ of growth: the student is the tree, not a series of disconnected ‘branches’ — integrated and unified.”
A little-known fact about Will is that he once aspired to become a lawyer and even interviewed with a well-known law school after doing very well on the LSAT. But God directed him to become a teacher after reading and studying The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas during his undergrad senior year at Cal State University, Fullerton. The theme for the book, as he took it, was “Do not mistake your freedom for being free.” He applied this to his life, resulting in his decision to obey God and become a teacher.
In his spare time, Will enjoys writing fiction and non-fiction. He just finished writing a children’s book about Jesus’ betrayal, trial, death, and resurrection, entitled The Cat, the Crow, and the Spider, and he is currently writing a novella about a Ukrainian orphan who becomes a boxer.
You may contact Will at firstname.lastname@example.org.