Finding the perfect gift

By Connie Nolen / Community columnist

“Do you guys think we should decorate her room in black streamers and balloons and put some flowers on her desk?  Or colorful streamers and balloons?” asked PHS teacher Diann Thomas.

Noting PHS English teacher Tonya Hatch’s birthday on my March Calendar, I was unaware that this was a pivotal birthday. Delighted that my coworker had that inside information, I wondered about the perfect gift. While books are great gifts for English teachers, there is always the significant possibility that book lovers already own even the most recent titles. Thinking back on my recent reading, I wondered what Hatch had not read.

Last summer, my husband’s friend, Bruce Terry, recommended a book to him. Terry’s recommendation was “Half Time” by Bob Buford. Although this sounds like a football book—my husband’s typical book of choice—“Half Time” is much more than a football book. “Half Time” is a book about preparing for the second half of life.

The second half of life slips up on us. It doesn’t ring the doorbell or call out from the front lawn. The second half of life lets itself in the back door and settles in quietly. Although my husband is older than I am, unless I break the three-digit barrier, I’m looking at the far side of halftime also—so I took an interest in this book.

In “Half Time,” Buford, a very successful business owner, says that the “first half of life is for achieving success and the second half of life is for achieving significance.”

Teaching success differs greatly from secular success. Teachers succeed when they make a difference in children’s lives. The only measure of this success lives in the hearts of children—strengthening and empowering them. Fortunate students of layers of teacher success woven within them allowing them to reach within when necessary, recall and conquer.

Knowing that Hatch is an adventurous reader, finding “Literary Journeys: A Reader’s Journal” with pages mapped for recording her book reactions seemed a fortuitous encounter. For our literary journey may be journeys of great significance indeed—during every quarter of life.