December 14, 2005
Mr. Denis McBride
Hello, my name is Denis McBride, and I will be your United States Government and Economics teacher for this year. We want to welcome those of you who will be joining this course by video; we're very glad to have you.
So began one of my favorite courses in high school, or indeed ever. Denis McBride is probably my favorite teacher ever, yet I've never met him. You see, I was one of those "joining this course by video" at the time. I first heard those words in Mongolia in the 9th grade as we watched the A Beka videos that comprised part of our education. Mr. McBride was a tallish man with reddish-blond hair and glasses similar to the ones I had at the time. He's easily one of the most passionate teachers I ever had; he obviously cared deeply both for his students and for the subject matter he was teaching.
He returned to mind this morning because I read Proverbs 14:34 --- "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people." Immediately I could hear Mr. McBride's voice reading that verse to the class and remember his next words:
Now notice what it says here: "Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people." Not nation --- people! That means sin is a disgrace to you. Sin is a disgrace to me.
Bits and phrases of his float through my mind, as he exhorted us to be grateful for the heritage, government, and country of the United States of America. Strange that now I could feel almost apologetic for this, as if I was somehow "brought up badly." But he was right, and his words sank in deep, and I am still proud and grateful and glad to call myself an American. While not being the only one, Denis McBride was my foremost instructor in patriotism, and he's the one I remember best.
The year after we finished his course, I started on a project to record all of his teaching onto audio cassettes that I could always carry with me. I wish I'd succeeded or at least kept up with the project ... I only made a few cassettes, and those I made have been lost over the years, to my great sadness. One day I hope to see if A Beka still has those 1991 tapes, but part of me suspects that they may be "lost to the ages." When I returned to the States in 2000, I tried to look Mr. McBride up to see if I could send him a letter, but I couldn't find him. Last year I wrote a letter to PCC asking if they could help but never got a reply. I hope one day I'll get a chance to talk to the man (better yet, see him), and thank him for his class. For teaching me to love my country. For teaching me to see the consequences of the Christian faith. For being a teacher I still remember and quote and love.
To Mr. Denis McBride, if he ever has a chance to read these words:
Thank you so much, sir. Thanks for the blessing of your class. Thanks for pouring so much of your passion and love into your class that it even seeped into your videos. Thanks for being my favorite teacher ever. Thanks for teaching me to love this country and to be proud and thankful that I am an American citizen. Thanks for loving the Lord so much and for showing it so well. You have blessed me and far more people than you could know. May God bless you richly, sir. If I never meet you on this side, rest assured you're high on the list on the other.