Tending to the Soul

The young teacher stood before his class, giving them what he knew was his last lesson. Very soon, the troops of the regime would come to take him away and he would never return. His only crime had been to instill in the minds and souls of his students a desire to know the value of their being and to seek, in whatever fashion they could, the truth of caring for each other in a fragile world.

The story, titled “The Last Lesson” appeared in an elementary school reader sometime in the 1930s. Perhaps the author was all too familiar with the clouds of war gathering in Europe (for that was the setting of the story) and the repressive and totalitarian governments that were emerging. The story then becomes a statement about not yielding the strength of one’s soul to the oppressive fear created by brutality, greed, power and control. In other words, the story is a message about tending to the soul and its desire to preserve what it was intended to be.

Although written for a different time in history, it could  just as easily be set in our own time and place. Throughout the world there is chaos that creates great fear, suspicion of others, a drive for self protection and by the ruthless  pursuit of the gods of power. But the story, and our involvement in it, is not about the breakdown of so much in society we have come to believe was safe and permanent. Rather, it is about the resilience of the indomitable struggle of the soul to be greater than the forces that would tear down its resolve.It is about the belief that the environment should be protected, the hungry fed, that health care should be accessible to all, that individuals should be respected for who and what they are and that education should be free to open minds to explore and to think “what if!”

Somewhere in the morass of confusion and chaos that has ensnarled our nation, it is time to listen to the voice of that brave young teacher and therefore tend to the soul that reaches for a more powerful and caring way to live, a spark that cannot be extinguished, a lesson that will never end.

About Olson Huff, MD

Olson Huff is a pediatrician, author, husband, father of three sons and grandfather of four dynamic and growing grandchildren. Often described as a visionary leader and eclectic thinker, his efforts have always been to acknowledge the power, value and delight to be found in ALL children. As a pediatrician he has used his skills as a clinician to provide healing, as an author his words to reveal the spirit of children and as an advocate to plead their case from the state house of politics to the White House of policy changes. His vision is that ALL children will have the very best start in life from their earliest years of development to the brightness of the future they aspire to shape. He believes ALL children have a right to affordable, quality health care, clean and safe environments and homes that cherish their presence.
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13 Responses to Tending to the Soul

  1. Jay Berkelhamer says:

    Thank you for strengthening my resolve that we will move through this trying period with greater understanding, hope, and resolve to make the world better for all.
    Peace and love,

  2. Judy Major says:

    So eloquent and heartfelt as always, and so appropriate for these times, Olson!

    Seems like forever since we’ve seen each other. Our 50th baby arrived a couple weeks ago! I’m guessing you’ve not had any leads on someone who might be interested in having the birth center named after them.

    Insurance contracts have begun to come in, but oh my…it looks as though it could be weeks or even months before the money we are due follows. Startups are so hard! Hope all is well with you, Marylyn and your family, Judy

  3. David Tayloe says:

    So true; the cup is always half full! Thanks for sharing! Dave

  4. David Johnson says:

    As always, inspiring and relevant. Thank You, Olson for your work and life.

    David Johnson

  5. Cecil Jividen says:

    Thanks, Olson. It is a good, positive goal for our time. It really does make a difference that each of our day’s walk includes some opportunity to set one spark afire somewhere along the way. Hope I can be vigilant and respond positively and with hope. Thanks again, Cecil

  6. Roberta Williams says:

    Thanks for the inspiring thought, Olson

  7. kpcat@earthlink.net says:

    Beautifully written. I sent it to Sydney and she felt, as I did, the soul of the article.

  8. Cynthia Jean Mullen Jolly says:

    This is a beautiful reminder “about the resilience of the indomitable struggle of the soul to be greater than the forces that would tear down its resolve.” Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

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