Teacher Keeps An Empty Chair In His Classroom To Teach Valuable Lesson

Teacher Keeps An Empty Chair In His Classroom To Teach Valuable Lesson

This is an idea of creativity to share about being loving and kind. In this video, a teacher keeps an empty chair in his classroom to teach a valuable lesson.

At the start of this video, Kelly Clarkson shares that Dan Gill is a middle school teacher who has taught for over 52 years. Mr. Gill joins Kelly via video chat and thanks him for being a teacher and welcomes him. 

Dan begins to tell the story of how, when he was a boy, he was friends with a boy named Archie. The two of them were going to a birthday party of a friend in New York City, but when they got to the door, his mother said that Dan could come in, but Archie couldn’t. 

Dan questioned her why and she said that they have no more chairs. Dan pushed back at the age of 9 and said that he had been to their house many times and that they have a lot of chairs. He added that he would be happy to sit on the floor. 

The mother proceeded to say, “No, you can come in, but he cannot because there are no more chairs.” This broke Dan’s heart, and he felt terrible for his friend to be embarrassed and shamed in this way. He and Archie left and had tears in their eyes, and went back to his house.

Dan’s friend Archie was African American, and Dan was appalled at what his friend had experienced. 

Kelly asks if he tells his students that story. Dan says that he likes to use personal stories to teach history to young people to have a connection with history. He shares the opportunity that they have to come to a free school so they can make a difference and leaves one chair empty in his classroom as a reminder to have empathy.

The audience claps, and Kelly shares that they are grateful for who he is and what he does. They award him $1000 from the show. It is a special moment.

This is a great reminder that Jesus never kicked people out due to a “lack of chairs.” Jesus went to others and loved well and sat with people who were different from Him to share His gospel of love.

“When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners.’ On hearing this, Jesus said, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:11-13

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