For the last couple of years I had been searching for one of my high school teachers who really impacted me.
During my senior year there were three choices for high school English—Mr. Wilson’s class (the college prep course taught by a high strung teacher who never allowed students to talk or brush their hair in his class), a “Career English” course (where students learned how to write resumes, go on job interviews, etc.), and Mr. Olson’s class (I thought of his class as the “middle range class”).
The thing that surprised me was that his class was a college prep course, taught in a more relaxed environment. I learned how to write research papers, and I joined Jr. Toastmasters that year (which I later found out that he helped organize at our school).
A few years ago, I found out that Mr. Olson had a Ph.D. degree (it was in the yearbook, but I never bothered to read about the teachers). He never insisted that we call him “Dr. Olson” (unlike another teacher at the school) —we just called him “Mr. Olson.” He was humble, inspiring, and encouraging.
I remember when we had a cross country meet on base and part of the course ran past his house (I didn’t realize he lived there). He came out of his house to see the runners. He saw me as I was crying while running uphill. He looked at me and clapped his hands, encouraging me to continue.
Mr. Olson was the reason I wanted to go to college—he made me realize that I had “what it takes” to get through school.
Today I did an online search for him and I found out that he had passed away in March 2011 (http://www.obitsutah.com/obituary/5505/wayne-david-olsen.htm).
I really wanted to tell him how much he had influenced me, and now I am extremely sad that I did not get a chance to tell him before he died.
We shouldn’t wait until tomorrow to tell someone how much they mean to us. Do it today! “How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone” (James 4:14, NLT).