The unlikely story of how the boy who ‘wanted to become a teacher’ came to work for LifeSiteNews
COMBERMERE, Ontario, 19 December, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – “You will come to thank us one day for doing this to you,” my boss said reassuringly, trying to ease the blow from what he had just told me.
Yup, the words of my boss practically slammed me to the ground. In not offering me a contract for the next year, not only was I becoming officially unemployed, but I was actually being told that I would come to “thank” him for it one day.
“Yeah right,” I thought at the time. “I’m going to ‘thank you’ for taking away my ability to provide for my wife and four children, one of whom was born just yesterday? I’m going to ‘thank you’ for practically dashing to the ground my dreams of being a teacher? I’m going to ‘thank-you’ for literally throwing me and my family on the street with no prospect of work?”
I had just finished my first year of teaching at a small private school. It had always been my dream to be a teacher. Having just finished a year of studies in Australia where I was working towards a PhD degree I thought that a teaching job at a small school would be a perfect opportunity to get my ‘feet wet’ in the lifelong teaching career that I eagerly anticipated.
Boy, did I get a little more than my feet wet. But let me back up and tell you a little more of my story.
The truth will set you free
I had wanted to be a teacher since the day I became convinced that truth existed and that people would do better in life if they lived by it. That was in 1996 when I was 16. It was Euclidian geometry that did it for me.
I remember having worked through one of Euclid’s demonstrations on the blackboard and my teacher exclaiming enthusiastically: “Gaze upon this truth, let it soak into your soul. You may not find anything else in life that you know with such certainty.”
Yup, I was sold. If this was what truth was all about, then “lead me to the water,” I thought at the time. If I had been an atheist at the time, I’m sure I’d have started worshiping Mathematics as god, just like the Pythagoreans.
My newly ignited passion for truth led me to Thomas Aquinas College (TAC) in California. TAC is a small liberal arts college where students actually read and discuss the original works of the movers and shakers of western civilization, from Aristotle to Einstein. Students discussed these works in class around a big solid oak table (how awesome is that!). I encountered truths known through science, math, philosophy, and theology. I delighted in the Copernican proofs for the heliocentric nature of our solar system as much as I delighted in Aquinas’ five proofs for the existence of God.
I was intrigued by how the great thinkers such as Plato, Aristotle, and Aquinas understood marriage and the family. I even wrote my senior thesis against an idea proposed by Plato in his work The Republic where he organizes his ideal state so that women were to be held in common by all men, men and women were to live openly together, and children were to be raised by the State, not by parents.
Around this time my future spouse Erin and I began to see that secular society was waging a serious war against marriage and family and everything that stemmed from them. We wondered how society had arrived at the point of treating unborn children as expendable commodities that could simply be discarded through abortion.
We married in 2004 (the year we graduated from TAC) and went on to study theology at the International Theological Institute in Austria. The only place I saw all this education leading was to a teaching position at some college or university or working with a diocese in the marriage and family department.
Now, flash forward to my boss telling me on that fateful day that I would be ‘thankful’ he had let me go. Well, I went…quietly and without making a scene. I prayed that God would give me the kind of faith that I needed to walk wherever he wanted me and my family to go. But I felt somewhat abandoned by God.
A wise holy woman told me around this time: “Pete, have a little more faith in God…He has a good plan for you up his sleeve. You just gotta trust him.” Well, I decided to take her words to heart and let ‘God take the wheel’.
Not soon after losing my job, I learned that LifeSiteNews was looking for a full time Canadian journalist. “It’s too bad I’m not a journalist,” I thought. “I’ve written a mountain of papers for school, but journalism is something I know nothing about.” I had been a LifeSiteNews addict for years but I didn’t think I had what it took to do the job.
But someone at LifeSiteNews thought otherwise. This person saw something in me that I did not see in myself and convinced me to apply for the position. I remember being somewhat incredulous about anything panning out. As part of the application process, I was asked to write a few news reports. A little training went a long way and my editors liked what they read. I got the job.
It was exciting to cover breaking reports from the worldwide pro-life front. I began to see how these reports were making a difference. But very often there were ugly things happening in the culture that nobody was giving an opinion about from a pro-life, pro-traditional family perspective. My new boss gave me permission to write editorials to get the missing perspective out there. So, I wrote a number of opinion pieces. One was about nuns on the pill. Another was about the growing number of acronyms that express ‘sexual liberation’ (LGBTTIQQ2SMAPAVMZ). One was about the real war on women. Another was about the connection between the pro-life movement and the fight for traditional marriage.
It’s kinda like teaching
It dawned on me recently that while I had lost my classroom and my students, I had gained a newsroom and a readership. Students who struggled to complete assignments were replaced by readers who eagerly demanded straight facts and the truth without compromise. I realized in a moment of epiphany that my desire to teach was strangely being fulfilled through my work at LifeSiteNews — albeit in a way that I never would have ever conceived. And furthermore, I realized that I absolutely loved doing it.
The other day I was thinking about my former boss who told me that I would ‘thank’ him for letting me go. Darn it all, if he wasn’t right after all. It sure took me a long time to admit it though.
So, to my former boss I say: “Thank you for closing a door in my face so that I would see the real door that God wanted me to walk through. I bear no grudges.” I also thank the holy woman who encouraged me to walk by faith, not by sight, through those dark times. I am sure that if it wasn’t for her, I would’ve looked in all the wrong places for the way forward. I’m also grateful to my wife Erin who never doubted that God had something good in store for our family, as long as we allowed ourselves to become like ‘lilies of the field’. “You were right darling, God had a plan.”
And a big thanks to my bosses at LifeSiteNews for gathering together what I believe is a most inspiring team of people who have dedicated their lives to shining the light of truth in the darkest recesses of our culture. I have been blessed and honored to be part of this amazing pro-life venture.
There you have it folks, the unlikely story of how the boy who dreamed of being a teacher came to work for the most unique news reporting endeavor in the world.
And let me tell you, he wouldn’t change it for anything.
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