Teaching to Change Lives - Howard Hendricks Remembered

One of my dearest friends and mentors died last week. Howard Hendricks was 88 years old. He was someone who understood the law of multiplication. During his career of more than 60 years at Dallas Theological Seminary, he taught and mentored thousands of men and women. I had the wonderful privilege of being one of them.

I was never officially enrolled as a student under Dr. Hendricks; however, for many years, any time I could fit it into my schedule, I would spend the day with him and attend every one of his classes. Late in his career, he even asked me to come and teach for him – what an honor! Every time I did, he would be there in the class furiously taking notes. It was quite intimidating.
The book that introduced me to Dr. Hendricks, or Prof as his students called him, was Teaching to Change Lives. Today, as I say thanks to Prof for his impact on my life, I felt it appropriate to use the Seven Laws to reflect on his life and his legacy.
The Law of the Teacher – If you stop growing today, you stop teaching tomorrow.
I’ve never met a more voracious learner. When I first met Prof, he was in his early 60s. Just when most people are beginning to coast, he still had a white hot passion about what he might be able to learn next. He always wanted me to give him book recommendations!
The Law of Education – The way people learn determines how you teach.
It was never about him. He wanted to reach every student with whatever content he was charged to impart. He would adjust his methods accordingly. It was not about his preference as a teacher; it was always about the student.
The Law of Activity – Maximum learning is always the result of maximum involvement.
When I taught a class on mind mapping for him, he reminded me of this law. “You can’t just tell them about it, you’ve got to get them involved.” I made sure every student left class that day with a mind map on mind mapping.
The Law of Communication – To truly impart information requires the building of bridges.
Prof built a bridge with me. He was kind, gracious and accessible, always curious and concerned about what was going on in my life and my career. This was his approach with thousands of students over the years.
The Law of the Heart – Teaching that impacts is not head to head but heart to heart.
This was who he was. Although his intellect was towering, it was dwarfed by the size of his heart.
The Law of Encouragement – Teaching tends to be most effective when the learner is properly motivated.
I don’t know how he did this – but he did. As I sat in on his classes, as if by magic, every student would be on the edge of their seats. They were motivated by his love for the subject, his love for them and his candor. Prof motivated his students to learn and grow.
The Law of Readiness – The teaching-learning process will be most effective when both student and teacher are adequately prepared.
Prof talked about one of his own professors who he observed always studying. When Prof asked him about it, his reply, “I’d rather have my students drink from a running stream than a stagnant pool.” That was the decision Prof made over 60 years ago. He was dedicated to preparation.
When Milton Gregory wrote the original Seven Laws in 1884, they were not written about Howard Hendricks – but the laws were Howard Hendricks.
As Prof was prone to say about someone he approved of, “May his tribe increase!” Thanks to Prof’s dedication to God, his craft and his students, his tribe will certainly increase.
Thank you, Prof![GLS_Shield]


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