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D’une Génération à l’Autre

Today's blog post is an update on several things going on in my life lately. In my blog post on March 4, 2015, I told about the upcoming retirement of my two colleagues with whom I have been teaching French for 31 years and whom I have known for almost 45 years. In that post I also mentioned that, as sad as I was to see Bruce and Jackie retire, I was looking forward to having my former student Jeremy Patterson as my French-teaching colleague. As of Monday of this week, Jeremy is now Dr. Patterson! He successfully defended his dissertation at Middlebury College, a school renowned for its language programs. I could not be more proud of Jeremy.

About 10 years ago the president of the university where I teach encouraged us faculty who were in our 50's and early 60's to look at our students to see who we thought might be a good person to replace us upon retirement. As I considered my students at that time in regards to this, I immediately thought of Jeremy. I talked to him one day after class and told him that I knew I wasn't going to be able to teach forever and that I would like him to pray about continuing his French studies so that he could replace me someday when I retire. He told me he had never thought about anything like that, but he would indeed pray about it. Not long after that, he came to tell me that he was going to pursue the path I had suggested, as the Lord opened doors for him.

But instead of his replacing me upon my retirement, I get to enjoy having this fine man as my colleague for a few years. How cool is that?!

There's a poster I put up in my classroom each fall as a reminder about what teaching is all about — passing on what we know to the next generation. The saying at the bottom of the poster is what I have chosen as the title of this post — D'une Génération à l'Autre = From One Generation to Another. Here's a picture of that poster.

Deux Generations

A couple of bits of humor come to mind in connection with that nice picture. One, for the older man, is the young man the apple of his eye? Another one is something my former German teacher Dr. Salter once told me — "The apple doesn't fall far from the horse."

Remembering my having told him that story, my son Mark snapped the picture below at the Children's Museum of the Upstate recently and sent it to me.

Apple and Horse

He said there was no apparent reason for the apple to be there, but when he saw it, he knew I would get a laugh out of it.

I must say that this summer I have seen or heard from more former students than I remember having done in the past. I guess I'm getting to enjoy some of the fruit of past labors, which encourages me to labor on.

Speaking of from one generation to the next, we were able to have our whole family at our house a couple of weeks ago. Our neighbor kindly acted as our photographer, and here's our gang.

Loach Family 07-11-15

I hope that each of you is investing in the next generation in some way. If not, consider how you could do that. There are so many ways that you can. Maybe my commenters will tell how they are doing just that. BTW, some of you may be getting to an age where you need to start looking around for your eventual replacement. Just sayin'.... 🙂


"This gift for this day; God still owns tomorrow." — Elisabeth Elliot


Doctor to patient: I have good news and bad news. The good news is that you are not a hypochondriac.

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8 Comments on “D’une Génération à l’Autre”

  1. #1 Brian Goeckeler
    on Jul 22nd, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    Sometimes we think that the University is timeless. In some ways it is. However, we age and must move on. Even in my 40’s I use some expressions that mean nothing to the current generation. Hopefully the wisdom I try to impart will last and my students will talk about me the way that Christine and I talk about you and Madame Eaves and Dr. Byers. Enjoy your last few years before retirement.

  2. #2 Malcolm Cummings
    on Jul 22nd, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    Very good, Rob! A few comments: Your challenge to your students to consider teaching reminds me of Dr. Fremont who did the same thing. Who knows how many students considered and became teachers through challenges like this?

    I am very thankful that some of my former students are teaching and school administrators. I hope that I encouraged them in some way.

    Great family picture. I’m sure that it was an enjoyable time. We used to have family reunions, but I guess that we are too old and tired now. Great reunion in Heaven awaits us!

  3. #3 Glenn
    on Jul 22nd, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    Jeremy has a gift for languages. One of my daughters took Japanese lessons from him. At our Spanish church, he translates for us Gringos and you can also hear him speaking in French to his children.

  4. #4 Rob
    on Jul 22nd, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    Thanks for your kind words, Brian. Isn’t teaching the best?! Stick with it — the rewards are great!

  5. #5 Rob
    on Jul 22nd, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    Thanks, Malcolm. I am a teacher at least partially through the influence of Dr. Fremont.

  6. #6 Rob
    on Jul 22nd, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    Jeremy and Miriam are absolutely amazing! Their children are trilingual. He has spoken only in French to the children since their birth, and Miriam speaks only in Spanish to the children. Their English they pick up from life in the USA.

  7. #7 Marilyn
    on Jul 22nd, 2015 at 8:33 pm

    My doctor is going to love the end quip! Last time I saw him test results were inconclusive, so I said, Maybe I’m just a hypochondriac. He laughed. I still have warm feelings remembering the email a former student (now a teacher) wrote asking for a copy of some resources I had used teaching English in 1971!

  8. #8 Ken & Elaine Carr
    on Jul 26th, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    Thanks so much for your recent post about retiring. Beautifully done.

    And the photos are so nice. Especially the one of your family.


    Ken & Elaine