A number of years ago a respected university professor asked his graduate students to locate 200 boys, aged 12 to 16, and research their family backgrounds.
The purpose of the assignment was to predict their future.
The students were sent to a low socio-economic area to find the boys.
One of the conclusions reached by the graduate students was that 90 per cent of those researched would spend time in jail.
The final chapter of this study would not be completed for another 25 years.
When the original 200 students were sought about 25 years later, the university sent researchers back into the area. Some of the group still lived there, others had moved away, and a few had died. In all, they were able to locate 180 of the original 200.
What they found amazed them.
Only four had ever been to jail, which was extraordinary, considering that the prediction had been 90 per cent of the 200.
What caused this figure to be so low when all indications pointed to a much larger number?
When the researchers began to ask this question they found they were getting the same answer, ‘‘Well, there was this teacher ...’’
Pressed further, the researchers found that the teacher in all cases was one and the same. The boys had all been influenced by the same teacher.
The researchers tracked down the teacher, now living in a retirement home. They inquired about her remarkable influence over a group of boys destined for a life of crime.
She really could not think of any reason why she would have this kind of influence. However, she did say, ‘‘I truly loved my students’’.
Love is indeed a powerful force. Generally, we would not be aware of the impact that our unselfish love has on the lives of others.
Jesus was also a teacher whose words have impacted on millions over the centuries and, like the woman in the story, his teaching was motivated by that most powerful of all emotions — love.
- George Deeble, Euroa Christian Fellowship