I have a lot to say and several blog possibilities running on my computer and mind. However, this is National Teachers Appreciation Week and I can’t help but think about a teacher that has made such a huge impact in my life and I need to write about him. I warned him before that this was coming some day and since the word is out that he is leaving his coveted seat at BTSR, to make an impact in at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Ga., I must write about him now. Here it is.
I knew the day that Dr. Galindo and I were going to get along just fine. I was on the Christian Education trek at the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond. One of the pre-requisites was to take an Intro to Teaching class. I have a BS in Elementary Education from the teaching college in Virginia, Longwood. I taught elementary school and trained adults. We thought it was easier to take the class rather than opt out of it. So here I was, in the Intro to Teaching, learning how to teach and we had to prepare a lesson on teaching. My lesson was on how to teach to the visual, auditory and sensing learners at the same time.
Before presentations were to begin, Dr. Galindo opened the invitation to come to his office and ask him questions, or let him see the presentation and recommend suggestions. Out of the entire class, one person took him up on his offer. Yes, you guessed it. That would be me. When I came to see him and get his recommendations, and in all honesty, to get his approval, the one question he asked me was, “What the hell are you doing here?” It was that question and our talk following that I knew Dr. Galindo was going to have an impact on my life.
He knew that I didn’t need to be there. He knew that I could have taught the class on how to teach, but my mind and all that comes with it, took me straight to his office. That was also his red flag to recommend to me the idea of Family Systems Theory. Yeah, he knew there was more stuff there and to be in church ministry, I was going to need it. This conversation with Dr. Galindo also led to the one question that will forever be ingrained in my mind, “What’s this really about?”
Dr. Galindo became my mentor, friend, brother, colleague, and the teacher who made a difference. He gave permission for me to have Playdoh and crayons in my class as a learner. He gave permission for me to be imperfect. He gave permission to say that I have great experience in my work and I can share that with others. And most importantly, he gave me permission to become the person God made me to be.
I went to Cuba (his homeland) for my Mission Immersion Experience we connected over our experience and talked about a lot. He took part in my ordination service and wrote a prayer that I kept on my desk to read every day. When I graduated from seminary and Galindo University, I wanted to go and hug him after I received my degree, but thought the better for it. I didn’t want people to know that I was the most favorite student he ever had. That wouldn’t be right. 🙂 When I didn’t win the Christian Educator Award, I have to admit I was a little upset, but then I realized something else. I won something more than the award. I won Dr. Galindo’s respect.
His education and assistance helped me long past seminary. After graduation, I accepted a call to a church and served as Minister of Christian Education. To put it gently and kindly, it was a challenging experience. I won’t go into the circumstances but I believe my experience became one of Dr. Galindo’s BFST case studies. Yes, you can congratulate me at any time. There are two important pieces of information that you need to know. I would not have survived the five years of my ministry if it weren’t for Dr. Galindo. First, he recommended me to take part in the Leadership in Ministry Family Systems workshop that is held twice a year. And as a God given moment, the workshop met about 10 minutes from where I lived. I took part and received some valuable help from fellow clergy and coaches who knew what I was going through.
The second piece of survival was the fact that he answered all of my phone calls and pleas for help. I had him on speed dial. Dr. Galindo knew I am an Enneagram 6 and encouraged me to work on my photography as a part of my spiritual practice to help me through this time. He is an artist too and that helps him. Check it out. When I started interviewing at churches again, he helped me through the interview process. He was my superhero. He still is.
I know this blog entry is going to kill him, although at the same time he will be honored and maybe even do some shameless self-promoting about it. He likes to do that sometimes, especially when he has a book to sell. He even posted a review I wrote about one of his books. How cool is that?? Even though Dr. Galindo already knows the impact he has had on me, I want the world to know what a difference he made.
It is National Teachers Appreciation Week. Teaching is in my soul. I wanted to be a teacher since I was a little girl. I am no longer in the church setting, but I do believe I am still teaching as I follow a passion for chaplaincy. I am teaching what was taught to me; by the man I consider a friend and a hero. He saved me from a few tough situations and some terrible storms. More importantly, he saved me from myself in order to find my voice, and that has made all the difference in the world.
Thank you, Dr. Israel Galindo. I still owe you lunch at the Jefferson but until then, I hope you can accept my thanksgiving and forever gratitude for what you did for me.
Note: There is a wonderful photo of Dr. Galindo and me after graduation. Unfortunately, it is packed in the storage unit with everything else. Be assured that it will be in my next office when the day comes, right next to the prayer and a can of Playdoh.